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Late medieval cultural movement in Europe. The Renaissance brought renewed interest in Classical learning and values to Italy and subsequently the rest of western and central Europe from the late 13th to the early 17th century. Attracted by the values and rhetorical eloquence of ancient writers, figures such as Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, and Lorenzo Valla rejected medieval Scholasticism in favour of human-centred forms of philosophy and literature. In northern Europe, Desiderius Erasmus cultivated Christian humanism, and writers such as Francois Rabelais and William Shakespeare produced works that emphasized the intricacies of human character. Inspired by ancient Greece and Rome, Renaissance painters and sculptors took the visible world for their subject and practiced according to mathematical principles of balance, harmony, and perspective. The new aesthetic found expression in the works of Italian artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, and Michelangelo, and the Italian city of Florence became the centre of Renaissance art. The term has also been applied to cultural revivals in England in the 8th century, the Frankish kingdoms in the 9th century, and Europe in the 12th century. See alsoRenaissance architecture.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Renaissance, visit Britannica.com.
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