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Western Civilization 10, Lesson 155 – Key Ideas of the Renaissance

During the 14th century, many disasters and wars happened.  But amidst it all, another renaissance formed.  This time the focus was not on the sciences, but on the arts and individualism.  In this essay, I am going to summarize some of the key ideas of the 14th century renaissance.

The emphasis on individualism started small, with the start of artists signing their works.  For modern-day people that must seem like such a mundane and normal thing, but up until the 14th century it was never a common thing.  Artists were more concerned on showing the beauty and meaning behind their works.  Who created the work was never important.  Along with the signing of art pieces, people also started wanting portraits of themselves.  Another thing that was not common until the renaissance.

Secularism also became a popular idea.  While people were still religious, they started emphasizing how secular pursuits were as important as those who were a part of the clergy.  The view of active virtues rather than contemplative virtues also joined with the secularism movement.  Active virtues were actions taken by people who wanted to do well and be considered worthy.  Contemplative virtues were simply what monks did, they contemplated life and death and were still considered worthy and important.

As you can see, the renaissance focused on the worthiness of the individual man, clergy or otherwise.  Philosophers started emphasizing how men had infinite possibilities because they had the grace of God.  The 14th century renaissance was the start of people finding their individual value and the Church slowly losing their influence over the arts and literature.

Thanks for reading!


Author: sophiaelahirpc

10th Grade student in the Ron Paul Curriculum. Full-time teen writer living in Singapore.

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