Introduction to Italian High Renaissance Neoplatonism

Renaissance Humanism was the most significant intellectual movement of the Renaissance. It was beginning in Italy and spreading to the rest of Europe such as Hungary, Poland by the 16th century. It blended concern for the history and actions of human beings with religious concerns. The humanists were scholars and artists who studied subjects that they believed would help them better understand the problems of humanity. Its influence affected philosophy, politics, science, art, religion, literature and other aspects of intellectual inquiry.
The central feature of humanism in this period was the commitment to the idea that the ancient would was the pinnacle of human achievement, especially intellectual achievement, and should be taken as a model by coexistent Europeans. At 15th Century, more detailed observation of man himself and of nature followed in the 15th century with the growth of interest in anatomy, perspective, details of nature, landscape backgrounds, and form and color in light. Paintings of the 15th century also reflect the growing curiosity about man’s achievement in Italy’s past.
It is this preoccupation with and study of Classic culture and art that gave the Renaissance in Italy its particular character. Humanism asserted the right of the individual to the use of his own rason and belief, and stressed the importance and potential of man as an individual. This concept cana be identified with a belief in the power of learning and science to produce “the complete man”. At 16th Century, christianity was added to platonic ideal: Neo- platonism.

Neo-Platonism in the Renaissance was the philosophy based on the teachings and doctrines of a group of thinkers of the early Christian era who endeavored to reconcile the teachings of Plato with Christian concepts. It a reconciliation of Aristotelian and Platonic ideas with Christian beliefs. The Neo-Platonists, being at the same time both lovers of the pagan past with its Platonic ideals of physical beauty, and being Christians, wanted to fuse this pagan idealism with Christian doctrine.
The art and taste during the Renaissance for complicated mythological fantasies intermingled with allegories and symbolisms tried to achieve this fusion of the Platonic idealism with Christian doctrine. The main object of the Neo-Platonic Academy in Florence in the 15th century was the reconciliation of the spirit of antiquity with that of Chrisianity. Neo-Platonism, this philosophy was seen as the ideal balance between the Christian faith and the fresh humanistic concept of man’s advancement through the search for knowledge.
This was due to the fact that contemplation of the spiritual rather than the physicala was believed to be the route to both Christian and Neo-Platonic salvation. Many famous renaissance artists were influenced by this philosophy and their artworks demonstrated Neo- Platonic concepts such as the synthesis of classical and Christian ideals, the idealistic portrayal of beauty, and the soul’s struggle from physical existence to divine perfection.

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