To What Extent and in What Ways did Women Participate in the Renaissance?

The Renaissance came at a time with Florentine poets, artists and scholars of antiquity when the most significant changes of European cultural and social life began to occur. Therefore, the Renaissance made for the spiritual life of Europe particularly significant Cultural Revolution. Directly or indirectly, immediately or after a few centuries, it has affected the culture and lifestyles of all the peoples all over the world. There existed the Renaissance spirit – spirit of individual freedom, daring knowledge, appreciating of ancient, especially Hellenistic-Roman culture. This era allowed Europeans to take a political, cultural and economic hegemony over the world.

It is generally accepted that the Renaissance was an epoch when men ruled the world. Men represented every area of contemporary life – art, politics, and religion.

The role of women during the era of the Renaissance was very limited in contrast with the role of women in modern society. Despite the fact that a female had the opportunity to speak her mind, her ideas were shaped by men. For most women, the destiny was to marry a man and bear children.

The Renaissance woman was controlled by her family until the date of marriage; then she was to be handed directly to her husband.

What is more, almost every marriage was arranged not for the reason of deep feelings of love but only for business interest, such as to make or maintain peace between families and trade relations. House maintenance was the first and foremost social duty. Women of the Renaissance like the women of the Middle Ages had no political rights and were considered legally owned by their husbands.

However, one should not underestimate the place of women in the Renaissance. A great number of well-educated women were patrons of the cultural arts have been identified during the period of Renaissance. The contributions of famous woman varied.

It is unjust to say that a woman was only a homemaker. Women participated in the Renaissance in many ways. They contributed to political, social, artistic and religious spheres. Some of the Renaissance women achieved both acceptance and fame. Despite the fact that women had fewer rights than men, it should be said that during the era of the Renaissance, there were powerful women rulers. For example, Queen of France Catherine de Medici and Elizabeth I Queen of England were very influential on culture of these countries. Catherine de Medici introduced Italian ballet to France. Elizabeth I strengthened the position of absolutism and restored the Church of England.

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The period of the Renaissance was marked by quite a number of gifted woman-artists. Maddelana Casulana was a well-known Italian composer, singer and flutist. Laura Battifera and Gaspara Stampa were famous Italian poets. Sofinisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana and Marietta Robusti were good in portrait painting.

One more influential female figure during the Renaissance was Teresa of Avila. She made a contribution to the world history by reforming the Catholic Church from within. This woman produced several books and was a great scholar.

In conclusion, it should be said that during the Renaissance, women had a well-deserved place in society. As well as in the Middle Ages, women in the Renaissance were denied participation in politics; this right was legally considered as the domain of men. The woman irrespective of her social class was expected to perform the role of a housewife. However, some of them were taught drawing and painting, language, poetry and even philosophy; they sang and played different instruments. Besides, a huge female contribution to the culture of the Renaissance was that the most talented men created their best works for their beloved women.

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