JP Holdsworth Some of the most important Renaissance values had to do with man being enlightened and “reborn” (meaning of Renaissance) into a new being that was more physically, spiritually, intellectually, and culturally in touch with nature and divineness. The Art and Literary work given show the most important virtues of the Renaissance: Individualism, Humanism, Rationalism, Secularism and Virtue. Pico Della Mirandola shows the Renaissance values of Individualism, Humanism, Virtue, and Rationalism in his literary work, “Oration on the Dignity of Man”.
Mirandola shows Individualism because God is giving Adam the free will to be anything he wants to be. “God” also says that Adam is created as a totally unique being and he is a perfect mix of all the values in a being. Because of this Adam is unique and this portrays Individualism. This shows the values of the Renaissance because men during the Renaissance had a lot of Human potential. His work also shows the Renaissance value of Humanism because he explains how man is given the power to be “reborn” into perfection. Perfection and/or Divineness were huge significances during the Renaissance because they believed that man could do anything.
The text also shows Rationalism because Adam is allowed to perceive and fully understand the world and everything in it on his own. The Renaissance man showed this value because he strived to learn everything that he could and to truly understand the world around him. Mirandola tells of how Adam is free to “overcome himself”. This shows the Renaissance value of Virtue because when Adam is “overcoming” himself it means that he is supposed to be strong and not give in to his appetites and desires. He is meant to be a well-rounded spiritual figure upon which the whole world will advance.
Michelangelo also portrays the Renaissance values of Individualism, Secularism, and Humanism. Michelangelo shows Humanism in the way that he portrays Adam naked. Doing so glorified the human body and showed its beauty and perfection. The painting shows virtue because God’s and Adam’s hands are about to touch. This shows how the Renaissance society believed that the man was still in “touch” with God. Individualism is portrayed in this painting because Adam is alone and it shows how man could still cope with everyday life when he was alone on earth. Adam is also at a lax position showing that he could be on his own and not need the help of God.
Secularism is shown because Adam is portrayed as uninterested in God and more interested in his feelings. While God is reaching out to Adam, Adam is just lying down on the ground and he is more interested in his appetites and desires that striving to be in touch with God. In conclusion, all of the works made by individuals during the Renaissance did not just stand for being good literature or a good painting, the men who created them were scholars and they interpreted everything into their works that they believed portrayed the perfect Renaissance individual.