The Italian Renaissance was a period of great achievement that produced very influential masterworks that directly affects society today. The masterworks created by the genius artists during this time period are all greatly influenced by the philosophy of Humanism. Humanism of the Italian Renaissance was an education reform based off the idea that humans are the primary importance and centered on human’s values, capacities, and worth (Eugenio 534). This theory gives the knowledge necessary for a human being to be successful.This educational reform of Humanism was led by scholars, writers and civic leaders who are today known as humanists (Eugenio 534).
Shaped by the philosophy of humanism, masterworks of literature and artwork from the Italian Renaissance demonstrate important practices, those practices of which set the foundation of the successful citizens in society today. Italian Renaissance literature uses two aspects of Humanism that are practiced today in successful citizens: the use of proper grammar and persuasion.Humanist writers not only taught how to master these skills through their writing, but also why they are important. Lorenzo Valla is one of the most important humanist writers from the Italian Renaissance that explained the use of good grammar in his writings (Eugenio 535). His Elegantiae linguae Latinae, was a handbook that explained the importance of word diction and how much more successful one can become just by improving their vocabulary (Eugenio 535).His writings of word diction make an influence on the citizens of today’s society as one can easily observe that individuals with a great vocabulary tend to be sophisticated.
Many can easily conclude that those with intelligence have a higher success rate than those who are not intelligent; therefore the use of good grammar is practiced by those interested in obtaining success. Francesco Filelfo is another Italian humanist writer whose literature is very influential as it explains how to use grammar correctly. He explains the importance of this practice through his numerous letters, speeches and satire (Burke).A prime example of one his masterpieces that explains grammar is the well known, History of Italian Literature (Burke). The use of proper grammar stems from Italian Renaissance literature and is practiced by all successful citizens today. It gives one the knowledge to speak and write properly in their everyday lives, which are important concepts that one needs to master in order to become successful. Humanists wanted to create citizens who were able to speak expressively and write well, and thus be capable of participating in the civic life of their communities.Similarly to the proper use of grammar, the use of persuasion originating in literary pieces of the Italian Renaissance is second aspect of humanism that, when used correctly, allows citizens in our society prove a point successfully.
Literary pieces using persuasion during the Italian Renaissance was commonly found in poetry. Dante Alighieri is often considered one of the best Italian poets and is best known for his persuasive epic poem “The Divine Comedy” (Dante Alighieri).Like many persuasive poets during this time period, Dante addresses both sides to a controversial topic, and then convinces the reader to consider his point to be right (Dante Alighieri). Fancesco Petarca was another influential persuasive poet of the Italian Renaissance. He is famous for his emotional sonnets to his lady love (Francesco Petrarca).
His sonnets were based off of persuasion as they tried to win over his love to be his (Francesco Petrarca). Persuasion is an important practice to a successful citizens because it can be found almost anywhere humans can be found.Parents, students, teachers, politicians, sales persons, and others use persuasion in their everyday lives. For example mass media from magazines, radio, newspaper, and television all thrive on persuasion through their advertisement. Persuasion is a practice of almost all successful careers of citizens, which was originally demonstrated through literary masterworks in the Italian Renaissance. In contrast to literature, artwork of the Italian Renaissance is the other half that set the foundation of successful citizens in our society today through the practice of two values of humanism: individuality and the revelation of real emotion.
Renaissance artwork was all about paying attention to these two qualities of human beings. The idea of individuality is shown by artist Michelangelo as he incorporates humanism in his art masterpiece titled “David” (Janson 486). The legend behind Michelangelo’s “David” is that the character David wants to conquer a nine-foot tall giant in order to set himself apart from the rest of the people and show his unique characteristics of pride, strength and rebellion (Janson 486). This sculpture shows a man that is independent and strong as he makes a choice that sets him out to be unique.This piece by Michelangelo demonstrates the success of individuality as David uses his own special talents and skills to accomplish something, in this case defeating a monster. Sandro Botticelli is another artist of the Italian renaissance whose goal was to show individualism in his masterpieces by clearly showing the different personalities of each person in his paintings (Bush). His painting titled “Primavera” shows eight different characters in one painting each with different motives and different personalities (Bush).
The uniqueness of each character is stressed in this masterpiece as the main purpose of the painting.Individuality is used all through Italian renaissance art, revealing it as an important quality that makes ones own position in this world unique. Individuality is practiced by successful citizens as they use their special abilities for a certain purpose and to actively participate in making an influence in their community. Along with individuality, the second value of Italian art that influenced successful citizens today is the humanist theory of revealing true emotions. This theory of expressing one’s true emotions is shown through much of the artwork in the Italian renaissance, such as the works of Giotto and Leonardo da Vinci.Giotto is considered the first artist that drew accurately from life (Johnson). His famous painting “Joachim Takes Refuge in the Wilderness” shows characters with real emotions in a realistic setting (Johnson).
Although this scene would not be considered happy, he still portrays life realistically. Giotto drew life accurately while demonstrating how expressing true emotion is a positive practice. Those who are fake and hide their sad emotions live in denial and go no where in life, while those who show their true emotions can make positive change as they take others advice.Leonardo da Vinci also incorporates the humanist idea of showing real emotion in his masterpieces. His famous masterpiece titled “The Last Supper” is painting of Jesus at his last supper with people around him, with every person in the painting not smiling besides Jesus (Janson 487).
Each person looks anxious or concerned and shows their real emotions instead of pretending to be happy. Leonardo wants to show how real people act and feel through his paintings (Janson 488). Giotto and Leonardo aim to portray the world realistically in a natural state in their artwork, with people showing real emotions.This Italian Renaissance humanist idea of showing true emotions and not hiding how one truly feel is a practiced by successful citizens as they express their real emotions daily and learn from them. Italian artwork exposes true emotions, even if they are not necessarily happy.
Success is a product from making necessary changes. Addressing true emotion can lead to positive change; thus building a more successful citizen. Humanism greatly influenced the masterworks of the Italian Renaissance, which centered on the Humanist’s belief that human beings have a high potential for success.Formed by this philosophy, masterworks of literature and artwork from the Italian Renaissance demonstrate important practices followed by individuals, those practices of which set the foundation for the many successful citizens in our society today. The two humanist aspects of proper grammar and use of persuasion, originated in Italian Renaissance literature . The two humanist aspects individuality and expressing real emotions originated in Italian Renaissance artwork.
The Italian Renaissance should forever be remembered and recognized as a time period that produced diverse masterworks powerful enough to influence the standards of our society