The Medieval period in Italy is from A.D. 450 to A.D. 1350, and for France and England, it is from A.D. 450 to A.D. 1450. In 1568 during the Renaissance period, the term Middle Ages was coined by Giorgio Vasari in Latin, medium aevum. As well, Giorgio Vasari termed the Renaissance period from its French meaning of rebirth. The Medieval period was troubled with the deaths caused by the black plague; peaking in Europe around 1350, and the Holy Crusades. The Medieval period was pious; having or exhibiting religious reverence; earnestly compliant in the observance of religion; and devout. The Medieval period is characterized by piousness, and illiteracy because the religious clergy could, but the general populace could not read written material in Latin. The primary reason for this illiteracy amongst the general populace was the religious clergy were not willing to educate them, but rather were more than willing to translate the information to the public, which they found serving the interest of the church.
Medieval to Renaissance:
The change in culture from Medieval to the Renaissance occurred during different years across Europe. Italy made the shift from the Medieval to Renaissance period in the mid fourteenth century. However, due to the One Hundred Year war between England and France from 1337 to 1453, both England and France made the culture change from the Medieval to Renaissance period during the late fifteenth century.
The primary emphasis of Renaissance Humanism is on human dignity and potential. Humans have an elevated status within nature. Outward beauty represents a deep inner virtue and value, and was considered an essential element in the path towards God and enlightenment. According to the theory of the Renaissance, truth is reached through reason and evidence as experienced through the senses. During the Renaissance, truth supersedes Christian values of humility, introspection, and passivity, which dominated European religious thought during the Middle Ages.
During the Renaissance, learned courtiers and scholars were expected to know Greek and Latin. The important writers felt knowledge of Greek and Latin opened doors to knowledge previously controlled by the Church. The Italian Renaissance was most notably marked by Dante Alighieri, who wrote “The Divine Comedy,” an epic poem, between 1308 and 1321. Dante wrote “The Divine Comedy” in his native dialect of Tuscan rather than the scholarly manner of Latin. Since “The Divine Comedy” was written in Tuscan, the majority of the literate populace could read the book.
In 1454 the entire world changed with the event in technology of the Gutenberg Press, a movable-block type printing press. The first book printed was the Bible. The Gutenberg Press allowed ease of access for the populace to written material previously withheld to the populace by the Catholic church.
Renaissance Art and Architecture:
As well, in Italy visual artists were developing a new form of humanistic art. At the forefront of the Italian Renaissance movement, were Michelangelo, Leonardo de Vinci, and Raphael. Often redemption was a theme with an improvement in artistic techniques of linear, three-dimensional and understanding of the usage of light. The Italian Renaissance architecture was developed in Florence primarily by Filippo Brunelleschi. The changes include an emphasis on symmetry, proportion, geometry and other parts from classical antiquity and in particular Roman architecture.