Humanism, similar to Renaissance itself, has two main characteristics: first is the revival of interest in art and the values of the Classical world, and the second is the renewed sense of the individual’s ability to understand and change both himself and the world by seeking rational rather than religious aspect of life.

The term “Humanism” was first used in the 14th century to refer to teachers of Roman liberal arts (geometry, grammar, poetry, rhetoric and moral philosophy). Although it was primarily a scholarly movement, Humanism started to provoke a new interest in artists, and gradually beginning the transition from where artists were considered craftsmen to where artists found their inner voices discovering they had significant things to say about the world they so far had only observed.

By emphasisng the importance of reason and rational, Humanism challenged the traditional domination of theology with its elevation of the Divine and prostration of the earthly as sinful and corrupt.  Artists began to represent holiness in ordinary people, portraying the Virgin as a humble girl, God as a merciful senior, bringing Heaven closer to humans.

Humanism was a very scientific movement, they believed in education, they were convinced that the human’s mind could grasp the logical patterns of the universe.  Such reasoning inspired the belief that art could be codified into rules for the purposes of teaching.  This, in turn, led to the founding of art Academies to ensure the correct application of such rules, creating lots of great artist-intellectuals.

Some of the Artists:

  •  Giovanni Bellini
  • Donatello
  • Domenico Ghirlandaio
  • Giorgione
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Michelangelo Buonarroti
  • Raphael Sanzio
  • Tintoretto
  • Titian