Renaissance and Humanism

The Humanism and the Renaissance often are often confused, but we know that they are two different concepts. Humanism is a philosophical movement or thought , on the other hand, the Renaissance is a period or historical stage after the Middle Ages, where the arts, sciences and critical thought re-emerged.

Next we will see what each of these concepts is and its main characteristics.

DefinitionPhilosophical movement or thought emerged during the Renaissance.Historical stage after the Middle Ages, where the arts, sciences and critical thought re-emerged
Main features-Antopocentrist movement.

-Use of reason over faith (rejection of religious dogma).

-Promotion of literature.

-Valuation of ideas of ancient and classical culture.

-Valuation for classical antiquity.


-Rationalism and scientism.


-Growth in the arts and critical thinking.

Main exponentsLorenzo Valla, Francesco Petrarca, Dante Alighieri, Giovanni BoccaccioRaffaello Sanzio, Donatello di Betto Bardi, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarro.

What is Humanism?

The philosophical, cultural and intellectual movement that emerged in Europe in the fourteenth century is known as Humanism . It was based on the integration of certain values ​​that were considered universal and indispensable for human beings. Humanism is a current that arises as an opposition to theological thought, through which God was considered the center of life. In this way, through anthropocentrism , man came to occupy the center of life and stands as the measure of all things, so humanism tries to highlight the qualities of human nature by its own value.

Through humanism values ​​such as prestige, power and glory were recognized, which were highly questioned by Christian morality and even some considered as sins.

This thought established and laid the foundations of law, human rights policies that today are still part of the laws of all the nations of the world. His main thought is that the organization of society should take place in such a way that human well-being is guaranteed.

The humanists to develop their theory, were based on great ancient thinkers such as Aristotle and Plato, considering that knowledge was what gave people power, granting them freedom and happiness.

At present, this thought or current is opposed to consumer tendencies, narcissism and corporal exaltation. To everything that is considered an exploitation of the human being and fundamentally to poor working conditions and discrimination.

Characteristics of humanism

Among the main characteristics of this current of thought, we can find:

-They propose a more mundane vision of man, this means that he is considered as a natural being and not a divine creation.

– It is an anthopocentric movement , that is, it considers man as the center of the universe and life and not a god, as they considered theological thought.

-Use of reason over faith, that is, they considered human intelligence as a fundamental value to justify existence.

-Humanism was born in Europe and mainly originated in the cities of Venice, Rome and Florence, with the poets and thinkers Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) and Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375).

-This trend reached its peak after the invention of the printing press , thanks to the massive dissemination of these ideas and the creation of large universities and academies.

-To establish their thinking they took the roots of ancient and classical culture, having an orientation towards the philosophical current.

-He placed great emphasis on literature and its promotion. They used vulgar or common language for easy understanding by society.

-Rejecting the principles and traditions of the Middle Ages, with this led to the separation of the state from the church.

Main exponents of humanism

Among the main exponents and precursors of this thought we can highlight:

-Lorenzo Valla (1407-1457): speaker, philosopher and educator of humanism. He is considered the pioneer of philosophical and historical criticism.

-Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374): he was an important writer of this humanist current, as well as the author of several poems referring to the movement.

-Dante Alighieri (1265-1321): he was a great poet for this movement. His most famous work was the Divine Comedy.

-Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375): he was the writer considered the father of Italian literature. His best known work was Decamerón.

What is rebirth?

The Renaissance was an important artistic and philosophical movement that originated in the late 15th century in Italy and then spread throughout Europe, mainly to countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, England, France, Spain and Portugal).

Through it the Greco-Roman culture and classical philosophy re-emerged. This movement was based on humanism and was accompanied by great scientific advances and interventions of the time. Among these main advances we can find: the heliocentric theory and the invention of the printing press.

The Renaissance was a movement that opposed the values ​​of the Middle Ages, which was a period characterized by the consolidation of a theocentric and anti-individualist culture. Those who supported the Renaissance fought to rescue the practices and values ​​of classical antiquity and promote anthropocentrism and individualism.

Thanks to the image of man and his ability to use reason, an intellectual revolution was developed through the massive dysfunction of texts that until now were little known and through which traditional Greek culture and values ​​were promoted. -Romans.

The Renaissance is considered to be a period of transition between the Middle Ages and the Modern era, and his ideas generated a great change that impacted all aspects of life, especially learning and wisdom.

Main characteristics of the Renaissance

Among the main characteristics of this current of thought, we can find:

-Valuation of classical antiquity : during this thought, many documents produced in classical antiquity that were written in Latin, Greek and Arabic and were translated into common languages ​​were rescued. In this way, it was possible to provide society with access to culture.

– Anthropocentrism : this movement supports the idea of ​​society as the center of life, unlike the theocentric culture that put God as the center.

– Rationalism and scientism : the Renaissance claimed that everything could be explained through science and reason. It is for this reason that during this movement important scientists stood out such as: Nicolás Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Alonso de Santa Cruz, Miguel Servet, Leonardo Da Vinci.

– Individualism: they maintain the hypothesis of self-conception, self-qualification and self-worth of man.

– Growth of the arts: during the Renaissance, the arts were inspired by humanist ideas, and this was reflected in sculpture and painting, which had as their main motive the classical Greek and Roman myths.

Main exponents of the Renaissance

-Raffaello Sanzio

-Donatello by Betto Bardi,

-Leonardo da Vinci

-Michelangelo Buonarro

By way of conclusion we can say that the Renaissance was a specific period in history, and instead humanism was an intellectual current that was born in that period.

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