WWI and Renaissance


The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence was felt in literature philosophy, art, politics, science, religion, and other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance scholars employed the humanist method in study, and searched for realism and human emotion in art.

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Renaissance thinkers sought out learning from ancient texts, typically written in latin or ancient greek. Scholars scoured Europe’s monastic libraries, searching for works of antiquity which had fallen into obscurity. In such texts they found a desire to improve and perfect their worldly knowledge; an entirely different sentiment to the transcendental spirituality stressed by medieval Christianity. They did not reject Christianity; quite the contrary, many of the Renaissance’s greatest works were devoted to it, and the Church patronized many works of Renaissance art. However, a subtle shift took place in the way that intellectuals approached religion that was reflected in many other areas of cultural life.


According to the title every word in this contests written in an strictest sense of the word. Now one is more coinsures than writer to explain the means of topic, he look with a great confidence for his researches, he will be more assured of the approval of judges.

Different eyes of people represents different picture of initiliasition. This is a wide ocean of ventures and possible way and has many directions. It is the most serious difficulty of the history of civiliasition that a great intellectual process must be broken up into single and some other category.In this context our intension is to fill the gaps in this book by a special work on the “Art of the renaissance”.the struggle between popes and hohenstaufen left Italy in such a political situation which are entirely different from the policies of west countries. The condition was come in such condition that even the emperor of fourteen centuries does not receive that much of respect as they get earlier like feudal lords. But at this time the support of leader’s ad they retain a power.

In this condition a new political life is born. This new life displays his hundreds of forms. In far earlier times we can here and there detect a development of free personality which in Northern Europe either did not occur at all. The band of audacious wrongdoers in the tenth century described to us by Liudprand , some of the contemporaries of Gregory VII (for example, Benzo of Alba), and a few of the opponents of the first Hohenstaufen, show us characters of this kind. In the latter, circumstances were also, but in another way, favorable to the growth of individual character. The more frequently the governing party was changed, the more the individual was led to make the utmost of the exercise and enjoyment of power. The statesmen and popular leaders, especially in Florentine history, acquired so marked a personal character that we can scarcely find, even exceptionally, a parallel to them in contemporary history, hardly even in Jacob van Arteveldt. The fifteenth century is, above all, that of the many-sided men. There is no biography which does not, besides the chief work of its hero, speak of other pursuits all passing beyond the limits of dilettantism.

WWI Crisis

The Crisis approached World War I with a similar attitude of optimism. However, the conclusion of coverage of World War I did not contain the same disillusionment exhibited by the Defender. Immediately after the riots, the Defender began to link the cause of the riots to the war, offering the explanation that troops returning from racially tolerant Europe were now frustrated by the racial discrimination they faced at home.

How could a war which began with two of the leading African-American periodicals enthusiastically advocating participation end with those same periodicals documenting the violence and unrest that ensued as a result. World War I was a paradox not only for African-Americans, but for the rest of the world as well. It is now regarded as the most futile and ambiguous war of the modern era,5 and the United States’ delayed entry into the war was a result of this ambiguity. The war had already been raging in Europe for over two years when the United States joined the conflict in 1917. After the U.S. entered the war on the side of the Allies, mobilization further slowed the entrance of U.S. soldiers into the fight. While Wilson had run his reelection campaign using the slogan “He kept us out of war,” he became increasingly sympathetic to the Allied cause.7 Wilson, like many Americans, identified with Great Britain and the democracies of the Western Allies, as opposed to the authoritarian governments of the Central Powers.8 Public support for U.S. involvement in the war increased after the sinking of the British ocean liner, the RMS Lusitiania. Anti-German sentiment was again strengthened by the release of the intercepted “Zimmerman Telegram,” in which the German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmerman promised Mexico financial aid to reclaim “the lost territory of New Mexico, Texas and Arizona” if the United States entered the war.9 In addition to this telegram, German U-boats were continually attacking American merchant ships.10 American neutrality finally came to an end on April 2, 1917, when Wilson appealed to Congress to make a declaration of war against Germany, claiming “the world must be made safe for democracy.”11 Soon after Wilson’s address, the Senate and the House overwhelmingly voted in support of going to war.

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The development of the Individual


In this chapter our main concern is the personality of the different leader, republics and the chief personality of the state lies, not the only, but the chief reason for the early development of the Italian. To this it is due that he was the firstborn among the sons of modern Europe. In the Middle Ages both sides of human consciousness–that which was turned within as that which was turned without– lay dreaming or half awake beneath a common veil. The veil was woven of faith, illusion, and childish prepossession, through which the world and history were seen clad in strange hues. Man was conscious of himself only as a member of a race, people, party, family, or corporation – only through some general category. In Italy this veil first melted into air; an objective treatment and consideration of the State and of all the things of this world became possible. The subjective side at the same time asserted itself with corresponding emphasis; man became a spiritual individual, 26and recognized himself as such. In the same way the Greek had once distinguished himself from the barbarian, and the Arab had felt himself an individual at a time when other Asiatics knew themselves only as members of a race. It will not be difficult to show that this result was due above all to the political circumstances of Italy.

In far earlier times we can here and there detect a development of free personality which in Northern Europe either did not occur at all, or could not display itself in the same manner. The band of audacious wrongdoers in the tenth century described to us by Liudprand, some of the contemporaries of Gregory VII (for example, Benzo of Alba), and a few of the opponents of the first Hohenstaufen, show us characters of this kind. But at the close of the thirteenth century Italy began to swarm with individuality; the ban laid upon human personality was dissolved; and a thousand figures meet us each in its own special shape and dress. Dante’s great poem would have been impossible in any other country of Europe, if only for the reason that they all still lay under the spell of race. For Italy the august poet, through the wealth of individuality which he set forth, was the most national herald of his time. But this unfolding of the treasures of human nature in literature and art–this many-sided representation and criticism–will be discussed in separate chapters; here we have to deal only with the psychological fact itself. This fact appears in the most decisive and unmistakable form. The Italians of the fourteenth century knew little of false modesty or of hypocrisy in any shape; not one of them was afraid of singularity, of being and seeming unlike his neighbors.

Despotism, as we have already seen, fostered in the highest degree the individuality only of the tyrant or Condottiere himself, but also of the men whom he protected or used as his tools–the secretary, minister, poet, and companion. These people were forced to know all the inward resources of their own nature, passing or permanent; and their enjoyment of life was enhanced and concentrated by the desire to obtain the greatest satisfaction from a possibly very brief period of power and influence.

The recovery of olden days

In this point we are going to dicsuss about the history or the olden days of the nation civilization, now it is time to speak of the influence of ancient days the ‘new birth’ of which has been one-sidedly chosen as the name to sum up the whole period. The conditions which have been till now described the sufficed, apart from older days, to growth and to mature the national mind; and most of the intellectual tendencies which yet remain to be noticed would be feasible without it.

But both what has gone before and what we have still to discuss are colored in a thousand ways by the influence of the ancient world; and though the essence of the phenomena might still have been the same without the classical revival, it is only with and through this revival that they are actually manifested to us. The Renaissance would not have been the process of world-wide significance which it is, if its elements could be so easily separated from one another. We must insist upon it, as one of the chief propositions of this book, that it was not the revival of antiquity alone, but its union with the genius of the Italian people, which achieved the conquest of the western world. The amount of independence which the national spirit maintained in this union varied according to circumstances. In the modern Latin literature of the period, it is very small, while in the visual arts, as well as in other spheres, it is remarkably great; and hence the alliance between two distant epochs in the civilization of the same people, because concluded on equal terms, proved justifiable and fruitful. The rest of Europe was free either to repel or else partly or wholly to accept the mighty impulse which came forth from Italy. Where the latter was the case we may as well be spared the complaints over the early decay of mediaeval faith and civilization. Had these been strong enough to hold their ground, they would be alive to this day. If those elegiac natures which long to see them return could pass but one hour in the midst of them, they would gasp to be back in modern air. That in a great historical process of this kind flowers of exquisite beauty may perish, without being made immortal in poetry or tradition, is undoubtedly true; nevertheless, we cannot wish the process undone.


It was not until the nineteenth century that the French word Renaissance achieved popularity in describing the cultural movement that began in the late 13th century. The Renaissance was first defined by French historian jules Michelet (1798-1874), in his 1855 work,Histoire de France. For Michelet, the Renaissance was more a development in science than in art and culture. He asserted that it spanned the period from Columbus to copernicus to Galileo; that is, from the end of the fifteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth century.[34] Moreover, Michelet distinguished between what he called, “the bizarre and monstrous” quality of the Middle Ages and the democratic values that he, as a vocal Republican, chose to see in its character.[14] A French nationalist, Michelet also sought to claim the Renaissance as a French movement. The Swiss historian jacob burckhardt, (1818-1897) in his Die kultur der Renaissance in Italien, by contrast, defined the Renaissance as the period between Giotto and Michelanghelo in Italy, that is, the 14th to mid-16th centuries. He saw in the Renaissance the emergence of the modern spirit of individuality, which had been stifled in the Middle Ages.[35]His book was widely read and was influential in the development of the modern interpretation of the Italian Renaissance. However, Buckhardt has been accused of setting forth a linear whiggish view of history in seeing the Renaissance as the origin of the modern world.[4]

The Renaissance’s characteristics


Humanism was not a philosophy per se, but rather a method of learning. In contrast to the medieval scholastic mode, which focused on resolving contradictions between authors, humanists would study ancient texts in the original, and appraise them through a combination of reasoning and empirical evidence. Humanist education was based on the study of poetry, grammar, ethics and rhetoric. Above all, humanists asserted “the genius of man… the unique and extraordinary ability of the human mind.”[17]

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Humanist scholars shaped the intellectual landscape throughout the early modern period. Political philosophers such as Niccolò Machiavelli and Thomas More revived the ideas of Greek and Roman thinkers, and applied them in critiques of contemporary government. Theologians, notably Erasmus and Martin Luther, challenged the Aristotelian status quo, introducing radical new ideas of justification and faith (for more, see Religion below).


Raphael‘s School of Athens depicts illustrious contemporaries as Classical scholars, with Leonardo central as Plato. One of the distinguishing features of Renaissance art was its development of highly realistic linear perspective. Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337) is credited with first treating a painting as a window into space, but it was not until the writings of architects Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472) that perspective was formalized as an artistic technique.[18] The development of perspective was part of a wider trend towards realism in the arts (for more, see Renaissance Classicism).[19] To that end, painters also developed other techniques, studying light, shadow, and, famously in the case of Leonardo da Vinci, human anatomy.

Underlying these changes in artistic method was a renewed desire to depict the beauty of nature, and to unravel the axioms of aesthetics, with the works of LeonardoMichelangelo and Raphael representing artistic pinnacles that were to be much imitated by other artists.[20] Concurrently, in the Netherlands, a particularly vibrant artistic culture developed, the work of Hugo van der Goes and Jan van Eyck having particular influence on the development of painting in Italy, both technically with the introduction of oil paint and canvas, and stylistically in terms of naturalism in representation. (for more, see Renaissance in the Netherlands). Later, the work of Pieter Brueghel the Elder would inspire artists to depict themes of everyday life.[21] In architecture, Filippo Brunelleschi was foremost in studying the remains of ancient Classical buildings, and with rediscovered knowledge from the 1st century writer Vitruvius and the flourishing discipline of mathematics, formulated the Renaissance style. Brunelleschi’s major feat of engineering was the building of the dome of Florence Cathedral.[22] The outstanding architectural work of the High Renaissance was the rebuilding of St. Peter’s Basilica, combining the skills of Bramante, Michelangelo, and Maderno.


It should be emphasized that the new ideals of humanism, although more secular in some aspects, developed against an unquestioned Chirstian backdrop, especially in the Northern Renaissance. Indeed, much (if not most) of the new art was commissioned by or in dedication to the Church.[7] However, the Renaissance had a profound effect on contemporary theology, particularly in the way people perceived the relationship between man and God.[7] Many of the period’s foremost theologians were followers of the humanist method, including Erasmus, Zwingli, Thomas More, Martin luther, and John calvin. The Renaissance began in times of religious turmoil. The late iddle Ages saw a period of political intrigue surrounding the Papacy, culminating in the Western Schism, in which three men simultaneously claimed to be true Bishop of Rome.[26] While the schism was resolved by the Council of Constance(1414), the fifteenth century saw a resulting reform movement know as Conciliarism, which sought to limit the pope’s power. While the papacy eventually emerged supreme in ecclesiastical matters by the Fifth Council of Lateran(1515), it was dogged by continued accusations of corruption, most famously in the person of Pope Alexander VI, who was accused variously of simony, nepotism and fathering four illegitimate children whilst Pope, whom he married off to gain more power.[27] Churchmen such as Erasmus and Luther proposed reform to the Church, often based on humanist textual criticism of the New Testment.[7] Indeed, it was Luther who in October 1517 published the 95 Theses, challenging papal authority and criticizing its perceived corruption, particularly with regard to its sale of indulgences.

The 95 Theses led to the Reformation, a break with the Roman Catholic Church that previously claimed hegemony in western europe. Humanism and the Renaissance therefore played a direct role in sparking the Reformation, as well as in many other contemporaneous religious debates and conflicts.


The upheavals occurring in the arts and humanities were mirrored by a dynamic period of change in the sciences. Some have seen this flurry of activity as a scientific revolution heralding the beginning of the modern age.[23] Others have seen it merely as an acceleration of a continuous process stretching from the ancient world to the present day.[24] Regardless, there is general agreement that the Renaissance saw significant changes in the way the universe was viewed and the methods with which philosophers sought to explain natural phenomena.[25]

Science and art were very much intermingled in the early Renaissance, with artists such as Leonardo da vinci making observational drawings of anatomy and nature. Yet the most significant development of the era was not a specific discovery, but rather a process fordiscovery, the scientific method. This revolutionary new way of learning about the world focused on empirical evidence, the importance of mathematics, and discarding the Aristotelian final cause in favor of a mechanical philosophy. Early and influential proponents of these ideas included copernicus and Galileo.

The new scientific method led to great contributions in the fields of astronomy, physics, biology, and anatomy. With the publication of Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica, a new confidence was placed in the role of dissection, observation, and a mechanistics view of anatomy.[25]

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References and sources

  1. Burke.P, The European Renaissance: centre and Peripheries(Blackwell, Oxford 1998)
  2. Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle ages 1919, trans. 1924)
  3. Randolph Starn, “Renaissance Redux” The American Hstorical Review vol.103 No.1(subscrition required for JSTOR link)
  4. Randolph Starn, “Renaissance Redux” The American Hstorical Review vol.103 No.1 p. 124(subscrition required for JSTOR link)
  5. The Idea of the Renaissance, Richard Hooker, Washington State University Website
  6. Open University, Looking at the Renaissance: Religious Context in the Renaissance
  7. Open University, Looking at the Renaissance: Urban economy and government
  8. Hugs Bibbs, The Islamic Foundation of thr Renaissance, (Northwest and Pacific, 1999)
  9. Strathem, Paul The medici: Godfather of the Renaissance(2003) p81-90, p172-197
  10. The Islamic World to 1600, University of Calgary Website
  11. Julius Kirshner, “Family and Marriage: A socio-legal perspective”italy in the age of the Renaissance:1300-1550 John M. Najemy (Oxford University Press, 2004) p.89
  12. Jacob Burckhardt, “The Revivial of Antiquity,”The civilization of the Renaisance in the italy” (trans. by S.G.C. Middlemore, 1878)
  13. Jacob Burckhardt, “The Republics: Venice and Florence, ”The civilization of the Renaisance in the italy” (trans. by S.G.C. Middlemore, 1878)
  14. J. Brotton, The Renaissance : A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2006)
  15. Jacob Burckhardt, “The Development of the Individual, ,”The civilization of the Renaisance in the italy” (trans. by S.G.C. Middlemore, 1878)
  16. J. Stephens, “Individualism and the cult of creative personality”, The Italian Renaissance (New York, 1990) pp. 121
  17. As asserted by Gianozzo Manetti in On the Dignity and Excellence of Man. Cited in Clare, J, Italian Renaissance.
  18. John D. Clare & Dr. Alan Millen, Italian Renaissance (London, 1994) p.14
  19. David G. Stork, Optics and Realism in Renaissance Art
  20. Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists, trans. George Bull, Penguin Classics,(1965), ISBN 0-14-44-164-6
  21. Peter Brueghel Biography, Web Gallery of Art
  22. Richard Hooker, Architecture and Public Space
  23. Herbert Butterfield, The Origins of Modern Science, 1300-1800, p. viii
  24. Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution, (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1996), p. 1.
  25. J. Brotton, “Science and Philosophy”, The Renaissance: A Very Short Introduction (OUP2006)
  26. Catholic Encyclopedia, Western Schism
  27. Catholic Encyclopedia, Alexander VI
  28. Erwin Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art, (New York: Harper and Row, 1960)
  29. The Open University Guide to the Renaissance, Defining the Renaissance (Retrieved on May 10, 2007)
  30. Philip Sohm, Style in the Art Theory of Early Modern Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)
  31. Lóránt Czigány, A History of Hungarian Literature, “The Renaissance in Hungary”
  32. History of Poland on Polish Government’s website
  33. Paul Henry Láng, “The So Called Netherlands Schools,” The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 1. (1939), pp. 48-59. (Subscription required for JSTOR link.)
  34. Jules Michelet, History of France, trans. G. H. Smith (New York: D. Appleton, 1847)
  35. Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (trans. S.G.C Middlemore, London, 1878)
  36.  Peter Gay, Style in History. (New York: Basic Books 1974).
  37. Savonarola‘s popularity is a prime example of the manifestation of such concerns. Other examples include Phillip II of Spain‘s censorship of Florentine paintings, noted by Edward L. Goldberg, “Spanish Values and Tuscan Painting”, Renaissance Quarterly (1998) p.914
  38. Renaissance Forum at Hull University, 1997


  1. Brotton, Jerry, The Renaissance: A Very Short Introduction ISBN 0-19-280163-5
  2. Burckhardt, Jacob (1878), The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, trans S.G.C
    Middlemore, republished in 1990 ISBN 0-14-044534-X
  3. Burke, P, The European Renaissance: Centre and Peripheries ISBN 0-631-19845-8
  4. The Florentine Renaissance, ISBN 0-00-211262-0; (1969), The Flowering of the Renaissance, ISBN 0-7126-9884-1; (1992), The Renaissance, ISBN 0-00-215411-0
  5. Ergang, Robert (1967), The Renaissance, ISBN 0-442-02319-7
  6. Ferguson, Wallace K.] (1962), Europe in Transition, 1300-1500, ISBN 0-04-940008-8
  7. Haskins, Charles Homer (1927), The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, ISBN 0-674
  8. Jensen, De Lamar (1992), Renaissance Europe, ISBN 0-395-88947-2
  9. Lopez, Robert S. (1952), Hard Times and Investment in Culture
  10. Strathern, Paul (2003), The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance, ISBN 1-844-13098-3
    Stephens, John, The Italian Renaissance: The Origins of Intellectual and Artistic Change before the Renaissance ISBN 0-582-49337-4
  11. Thorndike, Lynn (1943) ‘Renaissance or Prenaissance?’
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