1.3- Humanism During the Renaissance

Characteristics of Humanism:


Petrarch – the Father of Humanism

Petrarch - portrait by Altichiero, Italian, circa 1370-1380

Petrarch – portrait by Altichiero, Italian, circa 1370-1380



  • Latin scholar and poet
  • Studied Latin poets — Virgil and Cicero
  • High moral tone
  • Wrote sonnets — love for Laura
  • Extended metaphors
  • Widely imitated

More information at https://italian.about.com/library/weekly/aa021600a.htm

Other Writers Who Defined Humanism

Marsilo Ficino Theologia Platonica


Click on the Theologia Platonica link and then click on the “preview the book” link to get a little taste of what Ficino wrote.

More information at   https://www.renaissanceastrology.com/ficino.html

Pico della MirandolaOration on the Dignity of Man


More information at:   https://www.alcott.net/alcott/home/champions/Pico.html

Baldasasare CastiglioneThe Courtier


More information at:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_the_Courtier

Balthazar Castiglione - Raphael, 1514-15, Rome, Italy

Balthazar Castiglione – Raphael, 1514-15, Rome, Italy

Next: Influences on the arts during the Reniassance

13 Responses to “1.3- Humanism During the Renaissance”

  1. Kristina Miller writes:

    I like the emphasis on the importance of the individual aspect of Humanism because I think it it makes people more responsible for themselves. It is interesting that physical beauty was related to divinity that seems to be more abstract. If one was considered ugly would they be judged as a sinful person?

  2. Nicole Wade writes:

    I think that maybe they would not be judged as a sinful person, but perhaps someone who was simply not in favor with God?

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  4. Tara Knight writes:

    “Ugly” and “deformed” people back then were considered as evil entities, which can be verified by the literature during that period. Chretien de Troyes’ Knight of the Cart depicts a little person (what he refers to as “dwarf” in the story) as a wily man who tricks Lancelot; moreover, as he hauls a cart – which, in the story, was an ominous thing in those days – he is directly associated with criminals and villains.

  5. jessica wert writes:

    If beauty is gods love. One has to wonder how the unfortunate were treated.

  6. Rebecka writes:

    It sounds like the humanism’s idea of choice goes more along the lines of free will than simply rolling with the punches and learning how to just accept one’s situations.

  7. Chaitanya Borade writes:

    I wonder how people during the renaissance period transited to the importance of an individual.It seems that the existence of individuality came about this time.

  8. Rebecca Hunting writes:

    If beauty is gods love, even in the human form I can’t help but wonder how often Gods love was abused.

  9. Gloria Tucker writes:

    The idea of humanists is that people can chose and those choices affect Gods love for you and when you make the right choices God shows his love for through your own appearance there for the more beautiful a person is the more God loves them therefor the more pure they are and the “ugly” or “deformed” person is the further from God therefor the more sinful.

  10. jzollman writes:

    The pursuit of the highest and best in truth, goodness, and beauty is a departure from the focus in the Middle Ages on fear and sin. Although the idea that beauty is the highest expression of God’s intentions may seem shallow to us today, the entire idea of beauty was different during the Renaissance and connected physical beauty with inner or moral beauty of character. Today beauty has been disconnected from character and is manipulated by consumerism and social design.

  11. Introduction to the Renaissance | ART/MUS/THR F200 writes:

    […] Next: Humanism […]

  12. morgan925igap@yahoo.com writes:

    The way we see ourselves is how we allow humanism to show in the art. I liked all the good pictures they were beautiful, but when the evil side showed up, it was very ugly and dark

  13. Rebekah Mitchell writes:

    I like how more things are being thought though and things are starting to be questioned. I like that they are not excepting everything the way that it is.