Renaissance is an important époque in the history of European culture, which started in the 14th century, and lasted for almost three hundred years. As it is known, the main idea of it was anthropocentrism, treating human beings as central and the most significant. Nevertheless, the name of the époque is connected with the artist’s renewed interest about the antique culture and aspiration to revive it. There is a great amount of outstanding people who lived and worked in this period; therefore, it is quite complicated to choose only two of them, but there is no doubt that Francesco Petrarca and Leonardo da Vinci are those who should be emphasized among others.
To understand the essence of the Renaissance époque, first of all, it is important to research the reasons that preceded its appearance. Among such reasons one finds: trade expansion, development of the financial system, geographical discoveries, reduction of the Catholic Church authority, and expansion of the humanism ideas. Consequently, people started thinking more, and the newly-born theory of humanism lead to altered view on “beauty”, which was no more found in God, but in humans themselves. Moreover, the presence of numerous monuments of the ancient times on the territory of Italy caused the people’s esthetic views change.
Francesco Petrarca is one of the most important representatives of the mentioned époque. As Italy is the native country of the Renaissance, Petrarca as “the father” of Renaissance, an outstanding poet, thinker, and politician was born and lived here. Apart from his efforts directed on church reformation, wars ceasing, and Italy reunion, he assembled the manuscripts of the ancient authors, which have a great historical and cultural value till nowadays. He developed his humanism ideas in his poetry, letters, and tractates; therefore, another irreplaceable contribution is his “discovery of a human”, which made him a founder of Renaissance humanism, and gave a possibility to further deeper learning of a human in science, literature, and art. Moreover, he has put the basis for a modern Italian by having written the first Italian dictionary.
The second personality standing out of many others, Leonardo da Vinci, was ahead of his time, as many researchers state. He is the person who is the founder of science development in the Renaissance époque. Da Vinci carried out investigations in the sphere of mathematics, physics, astronomy, botany, and other sciences. His numerous inventions were based on deep studies of nature and the laws of it development. Another of his achievements is the innovation in the painting theory. Leonardo da Vinci regarded the performance of the artist, who scientifically comprehends the world and reproduces it on the canvas, as the highest manifestation of creativity. His contribution to the Renaissance esthetics is reflected in his “Book on Painting”. This great artist, sculptor, and engineer has become a symbol of the époque; he is considered to be the embodiment of a “universal human” that was created during the Renaissance époque. The interest of da Vinci to the nature and human acknowledges his close connection to the humanistic culture. He believed that creative abilities of people are boundless. One of his great achievements is that he was the first who justified the idea of the world cognoscibility by the means of intelligence and feelings, which was firmly established in the minds of the thinkers of the 16th century.
Certainly all representatives of the Renaissance époque have contributed much to it, to its development of humanistic ideas, to the revival of ancient culture, and science. Thomas More, Erasmus Roterodamus, Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Müntzer, and many other works have influenced human’s views and highlighted the value of human’s personality. All of them have left a great heritage grasping philosophy, art, political science, history, and natural sciences which contribute to the development of the world culture. Nevertheless, Francesco Petrarca stands out as a founder of humanism and of the époque, while Leonardo da Vinci, as a “universal human”, is the symbol of the whole époque.