- the activity, spirit, or time of the great revival of art, literature, and learning in Europe beginning in the 14th century and extending to the 17th century, marking the transition from the medieval to the modern world.
- the forms and treatments in art used during this period.
- (sometimes lowercase) any similar revival in the world of art and learning.
- (lowercase) a renewal of life, vigor, interest, etc.; rebirth; revival: a moral renaissance.
- of, relating to, or suggestive of the European Renaissance of the 14th through the 17th centuries: Renaissance attitudes.
- noting or pertaining to the group of architectural styles existing in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries as adaptations of ancient Roman architectural details or compositional forms to contemporary uses, characterized at first by the free and inventive use of isolated details, later by the more imitative use of whole orders and compositional arrangements, with great attention to the formulation of compositional rules after the precepts of Vitruvius and the precedents of existing ruins, and at all periods by an emphasis on symmetry, exact mathematical relationships between parts, and a general effect of simplicity and repose.
- noting or pertaining to any of the various adaptations of this group of styles in foreign architecture characterized typically by the playful or grotesque use of isolated details in more or less traditional buildings.
- noting or pertaining to the furnishings or decorations of the Renaissance, in which motifs of classical derivation frequently appear.
- a revival or rebirth, esp of culture and learning
- the Renaissance the period of European history marking the waning of the Middle Ages and the rise of the modern world: usually considered as beginning in Italy in the 14th century
- the spirit, culture, art, science, and thought of this period. Characteristics of the Renaissance are usually considered to include intensified classical scholarship, scientific and geographical discovery, a sense of individual human potentialities, and the assertion of the active and secular over the religious and contemplative life
- (as modifier)Renaissance writers See also Early Renaissance, High Renaissance
- of, characteristic of, or relating to the Renaissance, its culture, etc
“great period of revival of classical-based art and learning in Europe that began in the fourteenth century,” 1840, from French renaissance des lettres, from Old French renaissance, literally “rebirth,” usually in a spiritual sense, from renastre “grow anew” (of plants), “be reborn” (Modern French renaître), from Vulgar Latin *renascere, from Latin renasci “be born again, rise again, reappear, be renewed,” from re- “again” (see re-) + nasci “be born” (Old Latin gnasci; see genus).
An earlier term for it was revival of learning (1785). In general usage, with a lower-case r-, “a revival” of anything that has long been in decay or disuse (especially of learning, literature, art), it is attested from 1872. Renaissance man is first recorded 1906.
The cultural rebirth that occurred in Europe from roughly the fourteenth through the middle of the seventeenth centuries, based on the rediscovery of the literature of Greece and Rome. During the Renaissance, America was discovered, and the Reformation began; modern times are often considered to have begun with the Renaissance. Major figures of the Renaissance include Galileo, William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo. Renaissance means “rebirth” or “reawakening.”