Between the 1300s and 1500s, Europe experienced a period of cultural rebirth known as the Renaissance, marking the transition from medieval times to modern times. The Renaissance brought new importance to individual expression, self-consciousness and worldly experience.
The Renaissance man and woman characterized the Renaissance ideals. A renaissance man was a well- educated gentleman who had cultural grace, courage and who understood the arts and sciences. On the other hand, a Renaissance woman was supposed to marry well, be loyal to her husband and give birth to boys.
The most famous Renaissance man was Leonardo Da Vinci who was born on April 15th 1452 in Florence, Italy. Da Vinci was truly recognized by many to be a Renaissance child and later a Renaissance man because of his many talents. He revealed his artistic talents at the age of 17 when he was hired as a studio boy to Andrea Del Verrocchio, the leading Florentine painter and sculptor of his day. In Verrocchio workshop, Da Vinci was introduced to main techniques, from the painting of altarpieces and panel pictures to the creation of large sculptural projects in marble and bronze. His ‘Last Supper” and ‘Mona Lisa”are among the most widely popular and influential paintings of the Renaissance. At the same time his scientific interests deepened: his concern with anatomy led him to perform dissections. After a period of time, Da Vinci’s scientific research began to dominate his other activities so much that his artistic gifts were directed toward scientific illustration. His sketched details drawings of bone and muscle structure have helped doctors to understand completely the layout of the muscles and bones structures.
As for Renaissance women, two of them made history: Isabella d’Este and Catherine de Medici.
Isabella d’Este was born in 1474. At the age of 16 she married Francesco Gonzaga, Prince of Mantua. She was able to speak Greek and Latin as well as play the lute, sing and dance and debate with people much older than her after the death of her husband, Isabella became chief of state in Mantua. She also founded a school for young women and set artistic fashions and standards.
Catherine de Medici was another Renaissance woman born in 1519. Nuns raised her when her parents died and had an arrangement marriage by her uncle the Pope. Three of her sons became kings under her influence. Catherine had a great interest in architecture when she built the new wing of the Louvre Museum, the construction of the Tuilleries Gardens and the building of the Chateau Monceau.
In conclusion, Leonardo da Vinci was one of the most famous from the Renaissance period and is the example of the Renaissance man because he was a master of both the world of arts as well as the world of science. Isabella d’Este during her rule set an example for women to break away from the traditional role of what women were supposed to be like during the Renaissance period. By doing this and many other things she was known as the ‘First Lady of the Renaissance”. Catherine was a great patron of arts and being this, she helped the Renaissance flourish. (576 words)