Western Studies emphasizes on the following two topics namely, Inspirational artists during the Renaissance and England before becoming a Constitutional Monarchy. The first topic takes into account the Renaissance era and the artists produced during it where as the second focuses on how the British monarchy was established and what were the perils that were faced in establishing it. This paper also highlights certain quotes.
Inspirational artists during the Renaissance.
The Europeans regard the Renaissance as an era that completely transformed their feudal society of the middle ages into a society dominated by political institutions, in which education was pursued and liberty was the right of all the citizens. This charismatic era gave birth to many philosophers, artists, scientists and thinkers who worked to present to their people a completely new perspective of life. Many artists concentrated upon human philosophy, which became the central movement during the Renaissance. Even though many artists were born during the Renaissance, there are some whose achievements can not be matched with any other.
One of these artists is Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in Vinci, a small town near Florence. His great reputation as a painter is based on an astonishingly small body of work. But painting, although it consumed him was not the focus of his extraordinarily abundent energies. Painting was one of the ways in which Leonardo tried to express his immense knowledge of the world. The exhaustiveness and the intensity of his vision are incomparable. He left thousands of closely written pages lavishly illustrated with sketches of every conceivable subject, from anatomy to architecture, from animals to angels, culminating in his final visions of the end of the world, a sketchbook in which he tried to depict the his sense of the forces of nature, which in his imagination he conceived of as possessing a unity that no one had ever seen before.
Leonardo Da Vinci has been termed as a scientist, philosopher, theorist, teacher, inventor and an artist who changed the way people depicted the world. According to Cameron Bambach,
When you look at a drawing by Leonardo is to really see him thinking on the paper.
He is trying out ideas. He is correcting ideas. He is reinforcing ideas. He jumps from one thought to another. This is this incredible sense of immediacy. It’s like, I don’t know, taking a glimpse over the artist’s shoulder. It’s a profoundly intimate experience. To see the drawings is to understand so much about the creative process of Leonardo. If we look at, say, the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper — those are masterpieces of extraordinary expression, arresting power (Neal Conan, Analysis:
Leonardo DaVinci’s Life And Work).
Leonardo, through his thinking opened up people’s minds and gave them a vision to view objects through a wise perception. Leonardo acquired his notions through the objects in nature and presented them to the people. According to Michael Gelb, Leonardo can be described as follows,
He possessed the confidence to liberate his intellectual and creative powers.
Made use of practical methods to cultivate original thinking, creativity, and problem solving.
Tested knowledge through experience, persistence, and possessed the willingness to make mistakes.
Made new approaches for balancing analysis with imagination.
Made ways to sustain continuous learning (Fort Collins, How To Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci; Liberating Creativity And Igniting Innovation In The Workplace).
Thus, Vinci can easily be termed as a genius.
The versatility and creative power of Leonardo mark him as a supreme example of Renaissance genius. He depicted in his drawings, with scientific precision and consummate artistry, subjects ranging from flying machines to caricatures; he also executed intricate anatomical studies of people, animals, and plants. The richness and originality of intellect expressed in his notebooks reveal one of the greatest minds of all time (Leonardo Da Vinci, The Columbia Encyclopedia).
Hence, the Renaissance was undoubtedly one of the most significant period in Europe. One of the intellectual movements during this period was Humanistic Philosophy. It presented to the people a new perspective of femininity.
Another great thinker of the Renaissance era was Michel De Montaigne. What was most intriguing about this character was that he influenced other people to search themselves and their conscience. Montaigne was born near Bordeaux, France, in 1533. After a lifetime of political service demanded by his friend, the king Henry IV, Montaigne began in earnest to write the essays that made him famous. Because of his exposure to ordinary folk, he was able to compose, almost to invent, an easy, seemingly artless French prose that helped to establish the high standards of the language.
The essays are more than a linguistic tour de force. In a way they are the quintessential Renaissance book. Besides being the first essays ever written, they constitute the first book whose main aim was to reveal with utter honesty and frankness the author’s mind and heart. Montaigne made no attempts to conceal his faults, but he did not bear his breast, either, and demand forgiveness. He was content to report what he was, what he thought, what he felt, in the expectation that he will be sufficiently like his reader, any reader, that his account will be interesting.
The essays, which were trials or tests of his own judgment on a diversity of subjects, show the change in Montaigne’s thinking as his examination of himself developed into a study of humankind and nature. The early essays reflect Montaigne’s concern with pain and death. To this group belongs the essay On Friendship” which commemorates Montaigne’s association with Etienne de La Boetie. A middle period, characterized by Montaigne’s motto Que sais-je?, which sums up his skeptical attitude toward all knowledge, is represented by the Apologie de Raimond Sebond (Montaigne,
Michel Eyquem, Seigneur De, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition).
Hence, the essays, if it is about anything other than itself, is about self-knowledge. Socrates, Montaigne’s hero and exemplar had said that knowing oneself was both hard and crucially important. The Renaissance, in all of its manifestations, had placed man at the center of things. There was coldness and a distance about the reorienting of man that may have irritated Montaigne. According to Joseph Epstein,
What makes Montaigne’s invention of the personal essay so extraordinary is that he not only was its first practitioner but may also have been, to date, its best. He set out the program for the personal essay-loose, digressive, elastic, familiar: free association, artistically controlled” (Joseph Epstein, Reading Montaigne).
Hence, through his exquisite work, Montaigne concentrated upon his own personal attributes and influenced people to discover their own personalities. Montaigne was very much different from the rest of the artists present in the Renaissance era. His work was based purely upon himself and influenced people to acquire the path of honesty and truth. Many people have stated, “Montaigne speaks to us because he speaks for us” (Joseph Epstein, Reading Montaigne). He has guided people through his book. Montaigne, in his book stated,
You have here, Reader, a book whose faith can be trusted, a book which warns you from the start that I have set myself no other end but a private family one. I have not been concerned to serve you nor my reputation: my powers are inadequate for such a design…. If my design had been to seek the favor of the world I would have decked myself out better and presented myself in a studied gait. Here I want to be seen in my simple, natural, everyday fashion, without striving or artifice: for it is my own self that I am painting. Here, drawn from life, you will read of my defects and my native form so far as respect for social convention allows: for had I found myself among those peoples who are said still to live under the sweet liberty of Nature’s primal laws, I can assure you that I would most willingly have portrayed myself whole, and wholly naked (Joseph Epstein, Reading Montaigne).
Hence, Montaigne like all the other Renaissance artists influenced the life of many people by grasping and presenting real images of himself through his collective work. He guided people to understand themselves better and to follow the road of honesty and veracity.
England before becoming a Constitutional Monarchy
The British monarchy is 1, 195 years old. It represents the heart and core of the British constitution. It was only after the renowned revolution of 1688 that did England manage to form a constitutional monarchy in 1689. The era of the Renaissance brought the Age of Enlightenment. In this age many philosophers, thinkers and scientists demonstrated to the public a completely new way of thinking. “Scientific thinkers are attempting to be objective about what they see. In social and political thought there are new considerations about how society should be organized and how governments should be run” (Theatre In The Age Of Reason, Chapter 11).
Towards the end of the 15th century, England had gone through a number of civil…