Cultural Epoch Theory: The Shift Term Paper

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At the same time, it considerably increased the number of books that would reach the masses, allowing them to see outside the teachings of the Church or of the religious preachers. Moreover, the printing machine offered the possibility for those opposing the rule of the Catholic Church to spread their beliefs and convictions. Thus, Gutenberg's invention was the main tool for what would later be called the Reformation, the religious movement which is often associated with the Renaissance and which influenced the artistic movement in the same manner as the Renaissance affected the emergence of the reformist churches.

The hallmarks of the previous era were rather obvious and contrasted to the ones the Renaissance promoted. They manifested themselves at all the levels of the society. Thus, during the middle Ages, the Church represented the highest institution of the state which had as its subjects all political and land owners (Berstein and Milza, 1994). From an artistic point-of-view, the Church influenced the way in which art would be developed. One relevant example is painting where the theme was the religious and symbolic aspects of the world. In this sense, for instance, one of the best known paintings of the Middle Ages is Ascension Panel from the Altarpiece of Saints Vincent and Giles attributed to Gherardo Starnina in Spain (Hispanic Society, 2006). It reveals religious scenes depicted in a manner to suggest eternal worship which was the main idea for the artistic perspectives of the middle Ages.

By comparison, the Renaissance tried to bring in front the man as the center of the universe. The value of man as the main element of the world is clearly visible in Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece "The Vitruvian Man" which underlines the perfect nature of the human being and its placement in the center of the universe. At the same time, the live of the individual was no longer fully organized around the Church or coordinated by it largely due to the fact that the Church itself began to have its authority questioned by the reformist attempts.

The passing from the middle ages to the Renaissance was visible in the artistic world more than in any other area. In this sense, the paintings saw a rebirth in the themes used for depiction. Thus, painters such as Leonardo Da Vinci or sculptors such as Michelangelo tried to bring the human being in the center of their creations and thus to reconsider the artistic legacy of the classical period of the Ancient world of the Romans and the Greeks. The perspective is optimistic, lighter, and most importantly focused on the individual rather than on an institution such as the Church (Berstein and Milza, 1994).. In terms of the development of the philosophical thought, this tried to get inspiration from the works of philosophers such as Plato or Aristotle who had influenced the ancient thought centuries before. Nonetheless, even Da Vinci wrote philosophical works, an aspect which underlined the fact that education, but more importantly the freedom of thought was essential for that moment in time and for the emergence of the true Renaissance spirit.

Overall, it can be concluded that the evolution from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance period can be analyzed from the point-of-view of cultural-epoch theory. It represented an important moment in the history of our civilization.

Works Cited

Berstein, Serge, and Milza. Pierre. Histoire de l'Europe. Paris: Hatier, 1994

Braunstein, Florence, and Pepin, Jean Francois. Les Grandes Doctrines. Paris: Ellipses, 1998

Culture-Epoch Theory: The fact of Ceaseless Change. N.d. 20 May 2008 http://iws.ccccd.edu/mbailey/culture_epoch_theory.htm

Hispanic Society. Paintings from the Middle Ages. 2006. 20 May 2008 http://www.hispanicsociety.org/hispanic/paintings_medieval.htm

Raman, K.V. The Hindu. Tues., July 31, 2001. Madras, India.

The Literacy Company. The invention of printing. n.d. 20 May 2008. http://www.readfaster.com/speedreading/article010.asp

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Berstein, Serge, and Milza. Pierre. Histoire de l'Europe. Paris: Hatier, 1994

Braunstein, Florence, and Pepin, Jean Francois. Les Grandes Doctrines. Paris: Ellipses, 1998

Culture-Epoch Theory: The fact of Ceaseless Change. N.d. 20 May 2008 http://iws.ccccd.edu/mbailey/culture_epoch_theory.htm

Hispanic Society. Paintings from the Middle Ages. 2006. 20 May 2008 http://www.hispanicsociety.org/hispanic/paintings_medieval.htm

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