The Renaissance, which started in Italy, provided great advancements in the quality of
life to the Europeans during the 1300's through the late 1500's. Increased trade provided Europe
with an abundance of weath,which allowed culture to flourish. People focused much of their
time on art and literature during this era. Many religious changes took place during the Renaissance, partly due to the Reformation of the Catholic Church. People broke free from religious and social oppression, and Europe became "reborn".
During the Renaissance, or "rebirth", of Europe wealth increased dramatically. The Crusades which preceded the Renaissance, provided Western Europe with new culture and products, such as silk. Merchants began trading with people from the East, which brought wealth and new kinds of goods to Europe. Slavery became re-introduced into society during the Renaissance and many Muslims worked as slaves in Italy. Money lending and trade contributed to the excessive wealth of city-states in Italy.
City-states possessed enough money for people to explore new kinds of art, philosophy, and government. People explored new areas and the use of maps increased. Access to literature increased due to the invention of the printing press. Books became widespread and affordable to the general public. Education and literacy increased as literature became available in a variety of languages. People expressed their vies openly in their publications, which did not go over well with the Catholic Church. In 1502, the Holy See ordered that all books challenging papal authority must be burned. This order came too late however, and the spread of freethinking during the Renaissance continued despite the censorship from the church.
The Religious establishment went through many changes during the Renaissance. People relied less on the church for guidance and focused more on their inner faith. Revolutionists challenged the doctrine of the Catholic Church, and new religions formed. Many people resented the church for its practice of selling indulgences to raise money. In 1517,a man named Martin Luther led a revolt against the Catholic Church by posting a list of statements challenging its integrity. He started the Protestant Revolt by protesting against the churches beliefs. Protestantism spread quickly spread through Europe during the 1500's, and many people left the Catholic Church to follow Protestant teachings. The Catholic Church realized that a change had to be made, and during the mid-1500's a movement called the Catholic Reformation took place. Religious leaders formed the Council of Trent and banned the selling of indulgences. Catholics started new religious orders ,such as the Jesuits, in order to draw people back to Catholicism. Their efforts paid off and many people reverted back to the Church, although Protestantism still remained strong. During the Renaissance people expressed individuality in their religious beliefs, ideas, and art.
Artists made great advancements during the Renaissance. They began to use mathematics in their paintings to make things look proportionate and realistic. Some used oil paints to enhance their art and give it texture. Many focused on painting realistic human forms. Architecture advanced with the help of famous architects such as Leonardo Da Vinci. Wealthy patrons supported the advancement of art by devoting time and money to their own individual collections, and to the construction of buildings. Sculptors studied the form of the human body and how it moves. Artists took a very humanist approach to their art and humanism spread thoughout Europe during the Renaissance era.
Humanism, or the study of the humanities, became very popular during the Renaissance. Scholars studied literature and philosophy focused on humanities and culture. Artists focused on the painting and sculpting of the human form. Humanists believed people should view humankind as good, and disputed the church's teachings that people have a sinful nature. Humanism led people to have a new way of thinking, which influenced government during the Renaissance.
The government system in Europe, prior to the spread of humanism, oppressed many people with its strict rules and money hoarding. Humanists suggested that politics should become more real and fair. During the 1500's a man by the name of Petrarch started civic humanism. This led to a more practical and efficient way of government by encouraging politicians to govern in a just manner. City-states each had their own forms of government during the Renaissance. They all strove to establish security and peace. During the Renaissance people from lower classes gained more political power than they had had during the Middle Ages. This led to the wealth being spread throughout the classes, giving the poof a chance to improve their lives.
During the Renaissance, people advanced culturally, religiously, and politically. Art expanded and evolved as artists took new humanistic approaches to their work. The spread of freethinking and rebellion led to the Reformation of the Catholic Church, and the start of Protestantism. The expansion of humanistic ideas in the government helped to better the government and increase the quality of living for Europeans.