Comparison of the Renaissance and Enlightenment (Сравнение Ренессанса и Просвещения)

The Renaissance political thoughts contributed to the centralization of power of monarchial governments. Of course, the degree to which monarchs

Comparison of the Renaissance and Enlightenment (Сравнение Ренессанса и Просвещения)



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left their place to the three-dimensional, salient and convexo-concave style of the Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michelangelo (1478-1564) and other great artists of the Renaissance demonstrated in their works an ideal individual in whom the physical beauty and that of the soul converged together according to the standards of antique aesthetics. Renaissance artists considered the imitation of nature of their primary goal, human beings became the focus of attention. To the great discontent of the Church, themes of human nudity also became present in works of the Renaissance artists. Likewise, a human being with his basic desires and passions appeared in literature.

In the Enlightenment art, the similarity with the Renaissance was that the Baroque style largely used in Renaissance continued into the eighteenth century. Also, Neoclassicism persisted to have a wide support. Neoclassicism was the revival of the classical style of ancient Greece and Rome. Nonetheless, by 1730s, a new style known as Rococo (a French innovation) began to gain great popularity. Unlike the Baroque, which accentuated majesty and power through the use of grand diagonals and games of light, Rococo emphasized grace and gentleness. This style could be seen in the works of important artists of the eighteenth century such as A. Watteau (1684-1721) and G. B. Tiepolo (1696-1770). In architecture, a combination of the Baroque and Rococo gave rise to some of the most beautiful architectural constructions such as Vierzehnheiligen church decorated by the great architect B. Newmann (1687-1753).

A major change in music during the Renaissance was the change in the composition for the mass. To replace Gregorian chants, the Renaissance madrigal saw its emergence as a chief form of secular music in Italy and France. Major changes also took place in the music of the Enlightenment period. Eighteenth century saw the rise and increasing popularity of classical music with its operas, orchestras, sonatas, concerts and symphonies. This period gave the world such remarkable composers as J. S. Bach (1685-1750), G. F. Handel (1685-1759) and, of course, W. A. Mozart (1756-1798). However, music did not become completely secularized; Bach, for example, was still composing religious music. Another similarity with the Renaissance age was that most of the musicians still depended on a patron such as an aristocrat or prince.

As for medicine, certainly there were differences concerning it between the two periods, since the two centuries that separated them did bring some improvement into medical practices. The surgeons experienced significant changes during the eighteenth century. In the 1740s they started organizing their own guilds, separate from the barbers. Furthermore, surgeons started to be licensed what required clinical experiences. This had brought in some selection into the ranks of those practicing surgery.

Technological innovations such as the rudder facilitated the great geographical discoveries of the Renaissance. Here are some of the most important discoveries: in 1456 Portuguese ships reached the Green cape and in 1486 Africa has been sailed around from the south. While familiarizing African coasts, Portuguese were sending their ships to the west and southwest Open Ocean leading to the discovery of Assorian Islands and Madeira Islands. In 1492 Columbus on his way to India crossed Atlantic Ocean and embarked on Bahamas Islands thus discovering a new continent of America. In 1498 a Spanish traveler V. De Gama sailing around Africa brought his ships to the Indian coasts. From XVI c. Europeans reach China and Japan of the existence of which they have only had a vague image before.

The perception about the Earths shape has changed as well; F. Magellans (1519-1522) trip around the world confirmed that the Earth was round. As if the world boarders became wider; trade routes now passed through the oceans, linking different continents between each other. Thus commenced the first phase of the emergence of the world civilization and globalization. During the Enlightenment this process accelerated even more with the creation of new public and private banks, acceptance of paper money and development of triangular trade. With colonization of Americas, India and Africa, the term global economy was more than appropriate. Triangular trade linked Europe, Africa, the East and the Americas, making eighteenth century merchants and traders more and more wealthy and powerful.

Among the multiple discoveries of the Renaissance, one was especially complicated and frightening. This was the Copernicus (1473-1543) heliocentric theory, which gave a new vision of the Universe, the Earth and thus the human being. Before, the Earth was believed to be the center of the world with other heavenly spheres rotating around it. Now, the Earth became a tiny point in the emptiness of Space revolving about its axis and the Sun in the center. The Enlightenment, on the other hand, did not know much of the scientific discoveries, but it was the age when the scientific ideas of the Scientific Revolution were popularized. Scientific ideas were not spread so much by the scientists themselves, but by such individuals as B. de Fontenelle (1657-1757). He was secretary of the French Royal Academy of Science (1691-1741) and contributed a lot to the communication of the scientific discoveries especially in astronomy.

Concerning politics, the Renaissance saw the beginning of modern politics, whereby interests of the state are of the principal consideration. Fundamental to politics were the works of an Italian politician N. Machiavelli (1469-1527). In his famous work “The Prince” he introduced political ideas that would have a great impact not only on the rulers of that period, but on the political leaders centuries later. He believed that morality was not among the top priorities in the political activities of that time. Therefore, he maintained that if a ruler is to stay in power, he should be prepared to do wrong when necessary. He continued that the states main preoccupation was to provide stability and in order for a ruler to rule efficiently, he should use diplomacy and be neither too loved, nor too feared. Hence, the concept of the balance of power emerged as popular political thought of the Renaissance. According to this concept, a country should not get involved in a war with a neighboring country the leader of which is strong. It is better to have a strong neighboring ruler with whom you can negotiate and agree, rather than to create a chaos and thus uncertainty and danger.

Just like Machiavelli was a giant of political thought in the Renaissance, Montesquieu (1689-1755) was for the Enlightenment, though his propositions were much different from those of Machiavelli. In his works he called for the separation of powers into legislative, executive and judiciary, advocated religious toleration and denounced slavery. Another great philosopher of the Enlightenment was J. J. Rousseau (1712-1778). In his work “Discourse on the Origins of the Inequality of Mankind” he explained why the government was “an evil, but a necessary one”. In his another very famous work “The Social Contract” he tried to accord individual liberty with governmental authority. All these political ideas were new and thus very different from the political thoughts of the Renaissance.

The Renaissance political thoughts contributed to the centralization of power of monarchial governments. Of course, the degree to which monarchs were successful in consolidation and extension of their political authority varied from country to country. While France, Spain and England emerged as centralized and more or less consolidated monarchies during the age of the Renaissance, the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire saw a decline. Central and Eastern Europe also experienced a decentralization of political authority, rather than its centralization. During the Enlightenment the process o centralization and growth of states continued. Most European states enlarged their bureaucracies and consolidated their governments. However, as a result of all the geographic discoveries and following overseas trips and colonization, European economy started to shift from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic seaboard. By the eighteenth century, England and France appeared as great commercial empires. Also, Eastern and Central Europe emerged as major international players in the European political arena. Russia, Austria and Prussia three of five major European states were located in Eastern or Central Europe. These states became so powerful that they managed to completely destroy Poland by dividing its lands between themselves. Although the ideas of the Enlightenment did leave an impact on the eighteenth century rulers, few of them actually attempted to implement the enlightened reforms into practice. The majority of rulers still believed that for a state to run effectively and prosper, it needed a strong absolute ruler.

In religion, clerical corruption, the popes preoccupation with secular matters such as finances and territorial power led to the growing discontent with the Church during the Renaissance period. J. Hus (1374-1415) and J. Wyclif (1328-1384) are viewed by many as the forerunners of the Reformation. Both of them attacked the excessive power of the papacy within Catholic Church and called for reforms. Although remaining a very important institution, Catholic Church and its religious practices became increasingly questioned and criticized by the Renaissance humanists. As during the Renaissance age, Catholic Church of the Enlightenment still had a lot of power and remained hierarchically structured. Religious devotion also remained strong during the eighteenth century. Nonetheless, critics and skepticism against the Church became more and more

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