How does the concept of individualism help explain the Renaissance?


Quick Answer

The Renaissance was a cultural era born largely out of humanism, according to Boston University. The concept of individualism, which was linked closely to humanist thought, had a profound impact on the Renaissance movement by encouraging the individual to flourish in all areas of life.

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Full Answer

Prior to the Renaissance, Italy and much of Europe were entrenched in the Middle Ages viewpoint that man is tarnished, unvirtuous and unworthy, according to Boston University. This viewpoint led to preoccupation with political and religious hierarchies, which contrast greatly with the individualistic mentality of the Renaissance. Rather than focusing on the collective good through individual sacrifice, individualism arose with the belief that the individual talents and minds should be elevated, according to HistoryDoctor.net.

Individualism was intrinsically linked to humanism and the desire to pursue education in the arts and humanities, according to Boston University. These interests in turn encouraged a renewed interest in the individual abilities and achievements of the individual. Individualism allowed scientists, inventors, artists, musicians and philosophers to flourish, encouraging them to produce work for the benefit and enjoyment of society. Boston University also explains that the concept of individualism gave rise to the idea of the Renaissance Man, someone who is capable and knowledgeable in all things.

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