The Renaissance Man: The Universal Individual

The Renaissance Man: The Universal Individual
The Renaissance Man: The Universal Individual

The Renaissance man, or “polymath” (universal man), is a comprehensively developed person who has many knowledge and is an expert in several scientific disciplines.

renaissance man

The definition is largely due to the great artists, great thinkers and scientists of the European Renaissance (starting around 1450). Michelangelo Buonarroti, Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus, Miguel Servet, Leon Battista Alberti, Isaac Newton are the most important names of people who were researchers in several fields of science and art at once. But perhaps the brightest representative, the true man of the Renaissance, is Leonardo da Vinci. He was an artist, engineer, anatomist, interested in many other disciplines and made great progress in his research.

The term "polymath" predates the Renaissance and comes from the Greek word "polymathes", which can be translated as "possessing many knowledge" - an idea that was extremely important to Plato and Aristotle, the great thinkers of the ancient world.

Leon Battista Alberti said: "People can do anything,if they want." This idea embodied the basic principles of Renaissance humanism, which determined that the individual is unlimited in his possibilities and development. Of course, the concept of "Renaissance man" should be attributed only to gifted individuals who tried to develop their skills in all areas of knowledge, in the arts, in physical development, unlike other people who lived in that era, who were more of a poorly educated society.

Many educated people aspired to the position of "universal man".

Man in the Renaissance

They were constantly engaged in self-improvement, developing their abilities, learning foreign languages, conducting scientific research, understanding and explaining philosophical problems, appreciating art, playing sports (perfecting their body). At an early stage, when the concept was generally defined, educated people had access to a lot of knowledge - the works of Greek thinkers and philosophers (many works were lost in subsequent centuries). In addition, the Renaissance man was the successor of chivalric traditions. The knights of the early Middle Ages, as you know, were literate people, versed in poetry and the arts, had good manners, and had personal independence (excluding duties to the feudal ruler). And the human right to freedom is the main theme of the true humanism of the Renaissance.

To a certain extent, humanism was not a philosophy, but a method of research. Humanists believed that a person in the Renaissance should come toend of his life with a great mind and a great body. All this could be achieved through constant learning and improvement. The main goal of humanism was to create a universal person who would combine intellectual and physical superiority.

Renaissance Science

The rediscovery of ancient texts and the invention of printing democratized learning and allowed ideas to spread more quickly. During the early Renaissance, the humanities were especially developed. At the same time, the works of Nicholas of Cusa (1450), which preceded the heliocentric worldview of Copernicus, laid the foundation for the natural sciences to a certain extent. But still, the science of the Renaissance and the arts (as disciplines) were very mixed at the beginning of the era. A vivid example of this is the great genius Leonardo da Vinci, who is an outstanding painter, he is also called the father of modern science.

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