Artistic Eras: Are We in a New or Second Renaissance?
Most artists and art lovers appreciate art from the Renaissance. What many people haven’t considered is whether a second renaissance is currently occurring.
Art continually evolves. One of the biggest periods of artistic evolution took place during the Renaissance, which started in Italy in the 14th century and spread throughout Europe during the following centuries. Many artists and art lovers greatly appreciate this artistic movement and the pieces of art that came from that era. What many people haven’t considered is whether our world will ever experience another renaissance period. However, some experts believe we are in a new or second renaissance. We discuss evidence for this theory below.
One of the reasons the artistic Renaissance of the 1400s was possible was because of new technology. The printing press made it easier for people to get paper and see printed art. Microscopes and telescopes made it easier to see our world and the heavens, which inspired many artistic pieces. Science developed in many different fields of study, including anatomy, which sculptors used to create more realistic statues. Alchemy and chemistry, two other branches of science, also led to the development of new paint colors.
Science and technology continue to evolve today. While that evolution never truly stopped, we are currently experiencing a renewed vigor for innovation as artificial intelligence (AI) develops. Social media and internet fanatics have probably already noticed the increased popularity of AI-generated art on social media apps and in other artistic pursuits, such as music composition and writing. This could spell a new or second renaissance in the art world and beyond.
Humanity isn’t just developing scientifically. Our politics, ethics, and environment are also shifting, as was the case in the first Renaissance. In the 14th century, political revolutions and trade routes began to shift European politics away from the divine right of kings. Ethics began to change as politics and religion changed. Religion was forced to change in accordance with scientific developments, such as the discovery that the earth rotated around the sun. These scientific discoveries about the environment, as well as other, more disastrous environmental discoveries about new diseases, changed how people saw the world and created art. For example, the evolution of pigments during the Renaissance involved the discovery that burning natural elements created new colors.
Great shifts such as these contribute to art and greater worldviews. Contemporary art often creates full-circle moments when communities enduring significant political, ethical, and environmental changes use their art as a means to reflect on current circumstances. People did this during the first Renaissance and are doing so today as they challenge two-party political systems, expand ethics to include new problems and solutions such as fixing police brutality, and work to repair human damage to the environment.
Humanity Still Flourishes
Despite the dangers of new technology and the worries over these large political, ethical, and environmental shifts, humanity continues to flourish. We have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and are seeking to make the world a better place, just as people did in Europe following the Black Death. Flourishing and finding pleasure in life often tends to inspire art and other cultural movements, which is another sign that we are probably in a new or second renaissance.
Art, technology, politics, ethics, and how we view the environment will continue to evolve whether we call these bursts of innovation and evolution a renaissance or not. However, terming these developments as such can help inspire us and focuses our views on the positive aspects of these changes rather than the negatives. How can you make the world a better place and participate in our current renaissance?