Both the Low and High Renaissance were privy to not only great works of art but also to some of the great masters of invention. The story of invention is not just out of necessity but also out of art. Michelangelo observed cadavers in order to create a more precise replication of a human being. He studied the world around him and applied it to his work. Da Vinci did the same by becoming an engineer for the Duke of Milan. It as here that Leonardo da Vinci broke new grounds in military weapons by inventing the first plans for a tank.
Since Milan was at war constantly, such inventions were made out of necessity or by simply observing the world and creating an object that would fulfill a need (Renaissance Man Paragraph 3). The Renaissance was an era of individuals. The art movement occurred in the 1400s at which time the world was succumbing to great travesties. The one hundred years war was happening, the bubonic plague had killed at least 50% of the population among such countries as France, Germany and England, but Italy was spared.
Due to Italy’s political system, which is a series of city republic states with not king, no true peasant class, and so there is room for social mobility, and capitalism has made the culture a commercial society. Merchants, such as the Medicis, ran this commercial society and all of these circumstances put together gives way for the Renaissance. In order for artists to have observed the world around them, leisure time must have been pursued and because Italy did not so entirely succumb to the great plague, the entire culture was left to flourish.
They flourished in everything, mostly art (Renaissance Man Paragraph 5). This era of individuals allowed for self-made millionaires who would commission artists to create whatever they wanted. One of the main contributors to the Renaissance was the Church. The ability of a Renaissance artist to create and invent hinged on the indulgence of the commissioner. Thus, many great religious art works were also the focal point of the artist. , and so, by observing the world around them Renaissance artists created a plethora of religious structures.
Michelangelo constructed The Campidoglio by using the space given to him and initiating solid voids, matched with horizontals and verticals. This civic center of Rome serves the scheme of space. Michelangelo also constructed St. Peters dome. This was at the time, the biggest dome in the world and still is. Bramante started this architectural design but Michelangelo finished it. In order for the massive amount of weight from the dome to be held the artist invented double columns on the drum and double ribs unifying the theme. Not only was the construction practical and inventive but the design still paid homage to the Church.
The top of the dome has a cross for Christianity which sits atop a globe which represents the world. It is also with Leonardo da Vinci that invention took on new levels. He was a genius at inventing objects that served every fantastical purpose he could imagine such as shoes with which to walk on water, the first sketches of a helicopter, diving masks and flotation devices to keep from drowning. Da Vinci was even believed to be the first person to sketch out a bicycle. Leonardo was a man who wanted to improve life in Milan and his inventions were an extension of this wish.
He even constructed plans to build canals and a linking bridge across the Gulf of Istanbul which would allow passageway from the Golden Horn and Bosporus (Leonardo Da Vinci Paragraph 1). By seeing the world around them and inventing necessary objects with which to engage in that world or to improve life, Renaissance artists proved that invention was key in discovering the world. Thus, the Renaissance did not only give the world great art, but the artistic genius and fortitude to create great monuments and inventions; Artists have always found it difficult to make a living off their art.
Even a master like Leonardo was forced to sell out in order to support himself, so he adapted his drawing skills to the more lucrative fields of architecture, military engineering, canal building and weapons design. Although a peacenik at heart, Leonardo landed a job working for the Duke of Milan by calling himself a military engineer and outlining some of his sinister ideas for weapons and fortifications. Like many art school types in search of a salary, he only briefly mentioned to the Duke that he could paint as well (Leonardo Da Vinci Paragraph One).
By simple observation, artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo could give the world new forms of sculpture, architecture, and design implementations involving grand scale construction such as Leonardo’s bridge or even the largest dome in the world. Observation is the key to artistic genius, and it is through observation that art and invention collide. It was with the writing of Utopia by Thomas More that Humanism became such an integral part of literature during the Renaissance. It is in Thomas More’s, Utopia, that a slightly different view of governing is shown.
The Utopian Government presented in More’s book isn’t one that is entirely new, but has been favored in other turns of history and in literature. The aims of the Utopian society are simplistic and relatively easy to grasp; More’s book was not just for royalty but also for the wanderings of layman who felt dissatisfied with how society was being run and wanted an alternative to think about of implement that favored is lifestyle a little more than the hierarchy of king’s lifestyle. The Utopians then are mainly focused on societal well being and implementing policies and laws that regard social harmony as the apex of a civil society.
The entire government is built with these laws and goals in the forefront of society’s infrastructure, and thus Utopian society is highly planned, King Utopus (the first king) planned the entire city of Amaurot (the city that Hytholoday focuses on to great length) and controlled in order that these goals were constant, and accomplished in a myriad of ways (More 47). Some of these goals were insurance that each member of society had a job and was working in one capacity or another, “Farming is the one job at which everyone works, men and women alike, with no exception,” (50).
In Utopian society there is no private property, no private currency and therefore, utopically, there is no unemployment, and there is no poverty. In Machiavellian society these aims would not be completely relevant, for a prince should have complete exercise of power and there is no better safeguard for this than controlling the economics of a state; but for More and his character Hytholoday, they state, “Every person (and this includes women as well as men) learns one of the trades I mentioned.
As the weaker sex, women practice the lighter crafts, such as working in wool or linen; the heavier jobs are assigned to the men. ” (50) The point of interest is the word “assigned” as it points to the level of governmental management, as men are told what tasks they must perform. This is reinforced by the fact that the main function of their elected officials is to “manage matters so that no one sits around in idleness, and to make sure that everyone works hard at his trade. ” (More 51) The main idea of More’s Utopia is that More’s Utopia places his faith in harmony.
More focuses on collective harmony. For More there is a tighter grip on controlling the personal lives of the citizenry. They work only six hours of the day but the rest of the time they are not permitted to be slothful, indolent or relax in any fair capacity but must use their free time to, as More states, “The other hours of the day, when they are not working, eating, or sleeping, are left to each man’s individual discretion, provided he does not waste his free time in roistering or sloth but uses it properly in some occupation that pleases him. (More 51) There is also control shown in the number permitted in each household since overpopulation appeared to be a detrimental cause of harmony, as More states, and the Utopian government, “…decreed that there shall be six thousand households in each [city], with each household containing between ten and sixteen adults. ” (More 55)