Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Are you a Renaissance Man or Woman?

DaVinci's drawing
of proportions from his journal.
The Renaissance, known as the “Awakening” marked a great revival in the interest of art, literature, and learning. Art made major advances in technique and attitudes. Before the Renaissance, artwork was flat and two dimensional. The Renaissance gave us many great artists, like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Much attention was brought to form and proportion giving paintings and drawing a more three dimensional look. The use of mathematics and geometry to achieve perspective and proportions became common. Mathematics also made architecture more sophisticated while art made it more aesthetic. More attention was paid to realism and anatomy in sculpture with more dynamic poses that were more lifelike. Literature was of the utmost importance and the acquiring of knowledge was a high aspiration during this period. The scholastic thinkers were responsible for breakthrough thinking regarding the nature of the universe. The idea that the universe could be studied and approached objectively was a radical new concept and this opened the door for science to flourish in the 17th century. Cities grew and prospered during the Renaissance and rulers learned to tax the people. Trade grew between cities and other countries. As trade in goods increased, trade in ideas grew also. This wealth helped sustain the political and social changes that were occurring at the time. Wealth made it possible for many persons to take on the role of patron… a supporter of the arts. Patrons ranged from wealthy individuals to institutions like the Roman Catholic Church. Artists were now commissioned to create works of art and gained great notoriety and respect. The atmosphere in society in general was shifting and became more accepting of artistic innovation and experimentation. As more people moved to the cities, their interest in the arts increased. Innovations from artists were encouraged and a continued value was placed on classical art and writing of antiquity. Even today, we think of a person as a Renaissance Man (or Woman) when he or she is proficient in a wide range of fields and interests.

Food for thought... Are you a Renaissance Man or Woman?

If not... how can you expand your interests, tastes, and talents like:

  • Curiosita: An insatiably curious approach to life.
  • Dimonstratzione: A commitment to test knowledge through experience.
  • Sensazione: The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to clarify experience.
  • Sfumato: A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.
  • Arte/Scienza: The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination ("whole-brain thinking").
  • Corporalita: The cultivation of ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.
  • Connessione: A recognition and appreciation for the connectedness of all things and phenomena; "systems thinking."

This book may help... How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day.

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