Being one of the most significant periods in history, Renaissance helped shape the development and growth of the modern world we are living today. Renaissance scholars established new thoughts which stimulated people to think from various perspectives and have interest in worldly matters and humanism. Therefore, the influence that Renaissance brought was, with no doubt, incomparable and immeasurable, especially in the aspects of status of women, religion and social structure.
As the idea of individualism and equality is raised during Renaissance, the status of women rose significantly. Their participation in the society grew. Different from before when women had no authority and power in the society, education for women was encouraged and developed. Because of the enhancement in the status of women during Renaissance, women have become successful individuals nowadays, contributing vastly to the society, playing an important role in the world.
Religious leaders and institutions became more interested in secular power rather than religious affairs. Corruption existed in the institutions, which led people to question the Church's teachings. When Martin Luther posted the 97 Theses, it further led to an uproar, which became the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. During Renaissance, ideas such as individualism and humanism were also introduced. They shifted people's focus from religious institutions to a direct relationship with God, as opposed to a communal faith of the Church. This further weakened the influence of the Church. Eventually, European political leaders broke away from the Church due to nationalism. The Catholic Church's influence weakened and declined. Though the Church declined, the Reformation indirectly increased popularity of religion in Europe.
Because of the rapid growth of population, there was overwhelming demand for goods and products which led to the vast development of trading activities. As a result, many cities became important trade centers and commercial centers. Enterprises, such as banking and industries were developed and caused the flourishing of the economy. The wealth helped sustain the political and social changes that were occurring at the time. In addition, with more and more wealth, the middle class was more independent and was able to develop their own living. Consequently, more and more towns had become self-ruling. Town people enjoyed more freedom than before. The social change led to a general spirit of equality and independence among the middle class. The spirit shaped the thinking of the importance of the individual during Renaissance.
Above all, Renaissance is undoubtedly a transitional period in history. Its impacts are far-reaching, affecting people from all over the world, male or female, from past to present. Renaissance, as an age of individualism and self-creativity, changed many aspects of a society. As these aspects change during the course of Renaissance, it generated more and more new and innovative ideas. Its great impacts on humankind and is definitely worth studying.
van der Weyden, Rogier
The Annunciation (Central panel of a triptych)
34 x 36 1/2 in. (86 x 93 cm)
Musée du Louvre, Paris