Impact of Humanism on the Development of Renaissance Art and Culture

Humanism refers to the new philosophical, literary, and artistic movement that focused more on humans than divine or supernatural beings. The period of humanism revolved around achievement, exploration, discovery as well as rediscovery of the world. The gradual embrace of humanism impacted the development of Renaissance art and culture in various ways.

In the era of Renaissance, humanism became an important motif for sculptors, painters, and artists. Unlike the Medieval era which the content of artwork revolved around religion, artwork in the Renaissance era focused on human-based ideals with minimal depiction of religious scenes or characters. The fact that humanity and the human form were discovered saw art replace the beauty of holiness and divinity depicted in the Medieval era. With the introduction of humanism, Renaissance art and culture shifted interest and curiosity in the individual.

Also, with the embrace of humanism, portrayals of human beings through Renaissance art often appeared nude and full. Renaissance artists also shifted their focus from subject matter to content. An art of the Renaissance period that highlights the impact of humanism is David by Michelangelo that is shown below. In the artwork, the idea of humanism is evident in the fact that the man is nude and full. In the art, David appears to move at any moment. He also has muscles that portray the ideals and exact forms of humans with the male being idealized or portrayed perfectly.

Another impact of humanism on renaissance art is evident in how representing haloes pass over holy figures. A perfect example is Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper where the haloes of Jesus Christ and his disciples are withdraw making them more human-like.