July 28, 2017

Culture of the Western European Renaissance

The Renaissance (or French Renaissance) is considered by researchers as a transition from the Medieval culture to the New Time, from the feudal society to the bourgeois. The pace of development of the Renaissance culture in the countries of Western Europe is different; the chronological boundaries are also approximate – from the end of the 13th century. In Italy – until the middle of the XVII century. In the Nordic countries. The highest point of its development this culture reaches in the XVI century, when it becomes a pan-European phenomenon.

The birth of a new worldview occurred in the major cities of Italy, which provided international trade between Europe and the Arab East. The Mediterranean roads, trade, the influx of foreigners, extensive cultural contacts, and a high level of well-being created favorable opportunities for the accumulation of knowledge, the development of education and the formation of a new secular elite, which was skeptical of many of the dogmas of Christian ideology, and even more skeptically, to the papal curia itself The central institutions of papal authority), to the higher ecclesiastical hierarchs, whose far from holy conduct was not a secret for the educated layers of Italian society.

Increased interest in knowledge, the growth of cultural level could not but be accompanied by an appeal to the cultural heritage of antiquity, because both the architecture of Italy, and sculpture, and preserved literary works of ancient authors were accessible and attracted attention. However, the self-affirmation of the individual in the Renaissance was not characterized by vulgar materialistic content, but had a spiritual character. The decisive influence here was the Christian tradition. The time in which they lived was revived, made them realize their importance, responsibility for themselves, but they did not cease to be people of the Middle Ages. Without losing faith in God, they only looked at themselves in a new way. The change in the medieval consciousness was superimposed on a keen interest in antiquity, which created a unique and unique culture. Why to antiquity? The fact is that a new attitude of the person, a certain, perhaps naive optimism of thinking, needed a world outlook, a justification, which was what classical antiquity was.

But even in Italy the Renaissance was not limited to the literal revival of antiquity. There was a more profound process connected with the liberation of the individual from all forms of feudal dependence, which made the person consider himself as a self-determining and self-sufficient being. Therefore, one of the structure-forming principles of the Renaissance culture is anthropocentrism. It was within the framework of the culture of the Renaissance that a comprehensive discovery of man took place. At the same time, the ideas of humanism (humanus humanus) were put at the forefront of the new system of values. The foundations of a new worldview were laid by the great Florentine poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), the author of the Divine Comedy, who stated that out of all manifestations of divine wisdom, it is man who is “the greatest miracle.” Another brilliant Florentine Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) in his famous sonnets sang the love of an earthly woman as beautiful, and not as a sinful feeling. Petrarch was the first of the Renaissance figures named by the humanists to sharply criticize the papal curia, calling it the abode of wickedness, the heresy temple and the school of delusions. Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) a contemporary of Petrarch, in his collection of short stories “Decameron” in an even more acute form preaches the human rights to happiness in this life, which he associates with love, with sensual pleasures. Boccaccio affirms that love is above class divisions, that the nobility of a person is determined not by nobility, but by personal valor, that every man is free and obliged to fight for his own happiness.

Such ideas were close to the young bourgeoisie, which became alien to the tragedy of the worldview, the pathos of suffering and the aestheticization of poverty. There was growing respect for a living person who wins by accepting the world as he is. Of course, he remembers that there is God, you need to observe Christian commandments, but in life you should rely, first of all, on yourself. A new illusion was building up-this person sounds proud, it seemed that there was no limit to human capabilities.

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