Guide The Victory of Humanism

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  1. Related Information
  2. The Victory of Humanism by Thomas Martin
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  4. The Victory of Humanism: The Psychology of Humanist Art, Modernism, and Race

Except where otherwise note, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4. Donald Trump , Elections , Violence. Newsletter Enter your e-mail address to subscribe to our daily news service. International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. We use cookies on our website. The Victory of Humanism. The Inversion of Western Aesthetic Sensibility Our experience of "race" is based on how we define beauty. Today we believe that raw nature is liberating and beautiful, and discipline is confining and ugly.

And for better or worse, modernists see the African Americans as somehow non-Western, more natural, or a kind of moral avant-garde. This volume surveys the arts and politics to illustrate the change in our idea of the beautiful. Reading it is like a return to college. However, it is clear that this was by no means a general feeling and that this awareness often led Europeans to turn in on themselves.

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Most humanists, confronted by the realities of their world, in fact tended to cherish attachments to a sense of identity that was anything but European. Petrarch, for instance, said that he was above all Italian, as he was proud of the strong bonds of Italian culture in a politically fragmented Italy. The increasing strength of national sentiment and xenophobia makes it impossible to believe that everyone during the Renaissance felt European. There are numerous examples. In , Coluccio Salutati, a humanist and chancellor of Florence, launched a virulent appeal not to let the voracious French seize hold of Italy.

The Victory of Humanism by Thomas Martin

The passion of jealousy, which torments almost all husbands elsewhere, is wholly unknown to them … Oh! How different their customs are from our own. Erasmus of Rotterdam , the prince of the humanists, noted this lack of a European consciousness with much regret. Recalling that the distance between one country and another was meant to separate bodies and not souls, he denounced what he called cruel human perversity: The German is in disagreement with the Frenchman, and the Spaniard with both of them.

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If one can speak of Europe, therefore, one must first recognise that it is a notion which, for the humanists, above all encompassed the plurality of spatial-cultural realities. It is a plural Europe full of contrasts, in which they were encouraged to engage with a familiar kind of otherness often in a way they found positive: When faced with these numerous dissonances, does it still make sense to speak of a Europe of the humanists? Yet there was a common dream which, between the middle ages and the early modern period spread on a European level: The expression Respublica Litteraria appeared for the first time in the writings of the Italian humanist and politician Francesco Barbaro in a letter addressed to Poggio Bracciolini dated 6 July Closely associated with the rise of humanism in Renaissance Italy and Europe, it was seen as a vector of a dominant cultural model.


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Humanist thought, in all its plurality—literary, political, philosophical and artistic—sought to establish the canons of human perfection from a perspective that was at once ethical, aesthetic and social. Humanism, fuelled by a deep conviction in the necessity of civilizational renewal, hoped for a return of antiquity, seen as essential for giving rise, in the spirit of universal vocation, to a new free, dignified man, master of his own destiny.

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The School of Athens painted by Raphael on the walls of the Stanza della Signatura in the Vatican between and encapsulates in a single image the performative fascination that the humanists had for the great scholars of the ancient world: It was this thirst for all things ancient that inspired the poet Ronsard to say of the ancients: As such, a perfect knowledge and mastery of ancient languages opened readers to the truth of the ancient texts. Thus, from the end of the fourteenth century, Latin philology was on the rise, as was Greek philology thanks to the Byzantine scholars who settled in Italy such as Manuel Chrysoloras who taught Greek in Florence after his arrival there in Numerous discoveries of ancient manuscripts in the abbeys of Cluny and Sankt Gallen enabled humanists to unearth ancient treaties by authors including Cicero, Quintilian, Lucretius, Plautus and Statius.

The Victory of Humanism: The Psychology of Humanist Art, Modernism, and Race

In fact these books were not to be found in the library, as befitted their worth, but in a dark and miserable prison at the bottom of a dark tower to which one would not even send prisoners condemned to death. Cicero was the model for prose, Virgil for the epic and Horace for lyric poetry. Janus Lascaris was twice sent to the Orient by the Medici in order to collect Greek manuscripts.

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He came back with more than works. As a book dealer he supplied the great libraries of the age: European humanism was a humanism of the book, and books a keystone of humanity. For the Byzantine humanist cardinal Basilius Bessarion , who wrote to the doge Cristoforo Moro and the Venetian senate on 31 May in order to donate his library to them manuscripts, including Greek works , books were the showcases of the words of the wise. They teach us, instruct us, console us, they remind us of all things ancient by placing them before the eyes of our memory.