The Italian Renaissance started towards the end of the 14th century when a group of Italian thinkers proclaimed that they were living in a new age. These individuals ushered in a new age of rebirth in literature, art, and culture. The Italian Renaissance is seen as a period characterized by modern methods of thinking regarding the world, whereby humans assumed the responsibility of deciding their destiny. The Italian Renaissance brought about the humanistic belief that humans could think intellectually to transform local cultures.
History of Renaissance Italy
During the 15th century, Italy was unique compared to other places in Europe because the nation was divided into city-like states, each with its governance structure. The Italian Renaissance began in an independent republic known as Florence (Bloom, 2004). Additionally, unlike other cities, Florence was a haven of banking and commercial activities and it was inhabited by wealthy individuals, who, due to wealth, flaunted their money and power by supporting artists and intellectuals. Bloom (2004) asserts that myriad activities in Florence made it become a cultural center in Europe and the point of origin for the Renaissance that later changed European culture. The artists and intellectuals followed the footsteps of the wealthy patrons, and instead of doing ordinary jobs, they travelled around Italy discovering Greek and Roman ancient texts. Bloom (2004) reveals that scholars and philosophers of Italian Renaissance were interested in the achievements of humans and sought ways to express it through humanism philosophy. Nevertheless, the Italian Renaissance ended towards the end of the 15th century. At the time, Italy faced myriad challenges that tore it apart. There were consistent wars that were caused by the question of whom to control the wealthy peninsula among the Pope, Roman Emperor, kings of England, France, and Spain (Bloom, 2004). The Catholic Church was also rocked with scandals and corruption that led to unswerving crackdown of dissenters.
Culture in the United States
The United States has one of the most diverse cultures in the world. Different cultures from across the world contribute to the diversity. Culture in the United States is represented through religion, food, language, clothing, and art. Foremost, there is no official language in the United States because almost all the languages of the world are spoken in America. However, Forbes & Mahan (2017) mention the most common languages spoken by the people include English, Spanish, Chinese, French, and German. Moreover, nearly all the religions are practiced in the United States. Though it is revealed that about 71 percent of the Americans profess Christianity while 23 percent are not affiliated to any religion, a further 6 percent is made up of non-Christian religions (Forbes & Mahan, 2017). Consequently, the clothing styles and fashion depend on social status, district, and climatic conditions. Despite the influence of Europeans and Native Americans, numerous foods are identified as American like hot dogs, hamburgers, and cheese. Finally, America is recognized as a haven of art because the country has control of about one-third of global media and entertainment industry.
Individualistic Nature of Italian Renaissance
The capability of individual people to demonstrate great achievements makes Italian Renaissance individualistic. The group mentality has been replaced by the belief that individual humans can make great invention and discoveries. The significance of individualism concept is that it frees up individuals to explore their potential without being discouraged by cultural beliefs. Individualism was widely expressed by artists like Leonardo Da Vinci during the renaissance (Gamberini et al., 2012). Today, the more common cultural systems are slowly being replaced by individualistic system of capitalism, encouraging private business.
There are varied contributions of my culture in the field of art. An artist like Andy Warhol has been instrumental in creating the pop art. The pop arts are still active today as they elicit shock and dismay in the manner with which horrifying events are depicted. In addition, my culture has been significant in advancing filmmaking. Today, we are able to watch movies drawn from different cultures that depict ways of life, beliefs, and values. Moreover, the use of art to communicate has helped to eliminate cultural barriers within diverse American society. For example, Andy Warhol’s Coca Cola advertisement appealed to a global audience, thereby eradicating cultural barriers and values within American society.
Values of Renaissance Italy Culture
The culture is characterized by inventions, for example, the development of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440. Gamberini et al. (2012) reveal that intellectuals used the culture to reproduce demanded texts of the Bible, secular books, and printed books. The invention was meant to ensure that information reached many people. In addition, the culture is synonymous with intellectual thinking that allows artists to elicit myriad feelings about different cultures. For example, The Battle of San Romano piece of art by Paolo Uccello has created new perspectives of looking at different cultures with a focus on values and beliefs that make them unique in America. Masterpieces by political thinkers like Machiavelli have changed the overall political landscape, where Americans evaluate principles anchored on practical considerations at the expense of moral understandings.
Religion, Sex, and Gender Roles
Islam is a widely practiced religion in America. My Islamic religion continues to thrive due to the re-emergence of holy texts and the fundamental role played by the mosques. In my religion, we believe that prayers in the mosques enhance religiosity and increase civic engagement of Muslims to support the democratic values of America. Islam has eliminated nepotism and selling of indulgences in various mosques. The Islamic religion emphasize the scripture at the expense of institutional power of the mosque. Moreover, salvation is largely viewed as a personal conversion necessitated by intricate conversation with the Supreme Being.
The Muslim culture oppresses women. Unlike men, Muslim women are forced to cover themselves with clothing and are denied power and privileges associated with education. Moreover, the women are also restricted at work as they are denied opportunities to head companies or serve in the board of management. Further, unlike boys who can stay out late, young girls within the Muslim culture are punished when stay out late into the night. As well, the veil worn by the Muslim women is a demonstration that women are subordinate to men, and as such, are not allowed to preside over religious functions.
The Italian Renaissance brought about significant changes in political, scientific, and intellectual advancements. The Renaissance began in Florence, Italy, before spreading to other countries in Europe and later into the United States. The Renaissance brought about fluid ideas that matched and changed local cultural thinking. Notably, the intellectual thinking paved the way for inventions, discovery, and improvement of local cultures. Future studies should examine the impacts of Italian Renaissance in socio-economic development.
Bloom, H. (2004). The Italian Renaissance. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers.
Forbes, B. & Mahan, J. (2017). Religion and popular culture in America, Third Edition. Berkeley, California: University of California Press.
Gamberini, A., Lazzarini, I. & ProQuest (Firm). (2012). The Italian renaissance state. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.