Throughout the time of the Renaissance, there were many individuals who embodied the “spirit of the Renaissance.” Many individuals had achievements in the fields of art, literature, and science. The Renaissance was a time of great rebirth and revival of cultural and scholarly activity in Western Europe. Three people who embodied the “spirit of the Renaissance” greatly were the artists Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The third individual is the writer named Niccolo Machiavelli. These individuals all display the “spirit of the Renaissance” by showing a revival with their work.
Leonardo da Vinci was a man of wisdom and genius. Even though he was an excellent artist and a sculptor, he was an architect, an engineer, and a man of science. Da Vinci was one of the greatest painters of the Italian Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci was born in a small city just outside Florence in 1452. Da Vinci began painting with great passion at the age of 15 when he was apprenticed to the artist Andrea del Verrocchio.
Da Vinci created two masterpieces that stood out over all his other works. Da Vinci painted the most well-known painting in the world, the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa was a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of a Florentine merchant. In the painting of Mona Lisa da Vinci was able to display many new forms of art. He was able to have the woman’s face move in and out of a smile.
He was also able to arrange the woman’s hands so that the figure formed a pyramid design. Da Vinci’s techniques solved problems that many earlier painters had faced. Another very well known painting that was created by da Vinci was the Last Supper. During the time of the Renaissance, new forms of painting were introduced to society. A technique called fresco was used to give the colors an opaque appearance. The principles of fresco were used in da Vinci’s portrait of the Last Supper. By using this method da Vinci displayed a revival of art during the Renaissance period. Clearly, Leonardo da Vinci embodied the “spirit of the Renaissance” with the rebirth of his artwork.
Michelangelo was one of the most famous artists in history and a great leader of the Italian Renaissance. He had endless creative energy which led him to be a great painter and architect and an active poet. Michelangelo was born on March 6, 1475, in the village of Caprese. His full name was Michelangelo Buonarroti. At the age of 12, Michelangelo became an apprentice for the most popular painter in Florence, Domenico Ghirlandajo. Before his apprenticeship was completed, Michelangelo stopped painting and began working as a sculptor under the guidance of Donatello. Michelangelo has been called the greatest sculptor to ever live. He was a master in portraying the human figure. Michelangelo sculpted many masterpieces such as Pieta and the Heroic Captive.
His most well-known sculpture is of David. He began this work of art in 1501when the new republic of Florence commissioned him to carve it as a symbol of civic independence and resistance to tyranny. His work is best known for the treatment of the human body.
All of his figures are both animated and restrained and seem to possess great spiritual energy. By displaying all of these things in his works of art he was able to create a new form of art. He caught the spectator’s eye with great detail and realism. With all of these ideas put into his work, Michelangelo displayed a revival of his artwork during the Renaissance period.
Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian statesman and writer whom many people consider the father of modern political science. He is known as one of the most important political thinkers of the Renaissance. Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence on May 3, 1469. In 1498, he was appointed secretary of the second-highest governing body in the Florentine republic. Throughout his career, Machiavelli wrote and published many books. He explained most of his ideas in The Prince, his best-known book. The Prince was written in 1513 and then later published in 1532. In this book, he describes the method by which a prince can acquire and maintain political power.
No other Renaissance book on any topic has been more widely read and studied than The Prince. Machiavelli’s other works include Discourse on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, written in 1531, Dell’arte Della Guerra (On the Art of War), written in 1521, Istorie Fiorentine (History of Florence), written in 1525, Vita di Castruccio Castracani (Life of Castruccio Castracani), written in 1520, and Mandragola (The Mandrake), written in 1524.
During the Renaissance, most of the political writers treated politics idealistically. Machiavelli sought to explain politics realistically and base it upon his view of human nature. The ultimate significance of Niccolo Machiavelli is based on two ideas, first, one permanent social order reflecting God’s will cannot be established, and second, that politics has its own laws and ought to be a science.
The “spirit of the renaissance”, that of a new beginning in the arts, sciences, government, and literature, etc. was a time of rebirth and innovative thinking for the time.
The progressive accomplishments of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli are all examples of this new approach of expressive thinking.
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