Renaissance and Mannerism
The fourteenth-century poet and classical scholar Petrarch was the first to characterize the period following the fall of the Roman Empire as a ‘Dark Age’, marked by a decline in culture and learning. Instead of viewing the classical era as one of pagan barbarity, he saw great value in its cultural achievements and ascribed considerable importance to the study of its surviving texts. While medieval Scholasticism had held that truth was pre-ordained by God, thereby giving the Church great authority and instrumentalizing the pursuit of knowledge, Humanist thought, on which Petrarch was highly influential, valued learning for its own sake.
The Renaissance – the cultural manifestation of which was the return to ...