Renaissance HumanismPic A: Raphael Santi, “The School of Athens”Pic B: Quentin Massys, “The Moneylenders”Pic C: Leonardo da Vinci “Vetruvian Man”Pic D: Albrecht Durer, “Erasmus”Pic E: Pieter Brueghel, “Summer”
Document A Pico, Count of Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man I have read in the records of the Arabian, reverend fathers, that this Abdala the Saracen, when questioned as to what on this stage of the world, as it were, could be seen most worthy of wonder, replied: "There is nothing to be seen more wonderful than man.
Document B Petrarch, Ascent of Mount Ventoux (Ventosum) ... the mountain which is visible from a great distance, was ever before my eyes, and I conceived the plan of some time doing what I have at last accomplished today (climbing the mountain). The idea took hold upon me with especial force when, in re- reading Livys History of Rome (an ancient Roman historian), yesterday, I happened upon the place where Philip of Macedon, the same who waged war against the Romans, ascended Mount Haemus in Thessaly...
Document C William Shakespeare, Hamlet What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form, in moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god! See what grace was seated on this brow: Hyperions (a titan or giant in Ancient Greek mythology) curls; the front of Jove (Jupiter) himself. An eye like Mars, to threaten and command. A station like the herald Mercury new lightened on a heaven-kissing hill, a combination and a form indeed, where every god did seem to set his seal…to give the world assurance of a man.
Document D Erasmus, The Goodly Feast An admirable spirit surely, in one who had not known Christ and the Sacred Scriptures. And so, when I read such things of such men (Socrates telling a friend that he has tried to please a god), I can hardly help exclaiming "Saint Socrates, pray for us!
Document E Thomas More, Utopia That is why Plato in an excellent simile showed that wise men will not meddle in affairs of state. They see the people swarm into the streets and get drenched with rain, and they cannot persuade them to go out of the rain and back to their houses. They know that if they should go out to them, they would accomplish nothing, and be drenched themselves. So they stay indoors. Although they cannot remedy the folly of others, they can at least be wise themselves.
Document F Vives, A Fable About Man I should like to begin this essay of mine on man by some fables and plays, since man is himself a fable and a play. Once upon a time, after a certain lavish and sumptuous feast given by Juno (the wife of Jupiter) on her birthday for all the gods, they, feeling carefree and elated by the nectar, asked whether she had prepared some plays which they might watch after the banquet.
Document G Columbus, The Third Voyage ...in supporting this opinion… that it agrees with that of Seneca (a Roman historian), and says that Aristotle had been enable to gain information respecting the world by means of Alexander the Great, and Seneca by the emperor Nero, and Pliny (another Roman historian) through the Romans.
Document H Rabelais, Pantagruel All the world is full of knowing men, of most learned schoolmasters, and vast libraries; and it appears to me as a truth, that neither in Platos time, nor in Ciceros, nor Papinians, there was ever such a convenience for studying, as we see at this day there is.
Essay Prompt 1994Explain the ways in which ItalianRenaissance humanism transformed ideasabout the individual’s role in society.
Essay Prompt 1985To what extent is the term Renaissance avalid concept for a distinct period in earlymodern European history?
Essay Prompt 1998Discuss how Renaissance ideas areexpressed in the Italian art of the period,referring to specific works and artists.