The Renaissance was a period of European history that would change the world forever. It changed the way people saw art (and other things) and the way people acted. The Renaissance began in 14th-century Italy and spread to the rest of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. In this period, the society of the Middle Ages with its agricultural economy and church filled life, was transformed into a society that was increasingly influenced by central politics, with a more urban, commercial economy and interests in education, the arts, and music.
The word "renaissance” (meaning "rebirth” in Latin) was first used in 1855 by the French historian Jules Michelet. Then the great Swiss historian Jakob Burckhardt used and developed on Michelet's concept. Jakob marked the era as nothing less than "the birth of modern humanity and consciousness after a long period of decay”. During the Renaissance, many European scholars and artists, especially in Italy, studied the art of ancient Greece and Rome. They wanted to recapture the spirit of the Greek and Roman cultures into their own artistic and literary works.
The Renaissance overlapped the end of the Middle Ages, which began approximately in the 400's. The leaders of the Renaissance began rejecting many ideas and attitudes of the Middle Ages. For example, people back in the Middle Ages thought that their responsibility was to pray to God and concentrate on saving their soul. Individuals from the Renaissance, on the other hand, argued that people's responsibilities and duties should be directed at the society in which they lived. The Renaissance also saw the discovery and exploration of new continents, the growth of commerce, and the invention of paper, printing, the mariner's compass, and gunpowder.
Though there were many changes, scholars and thinkers of that day thought the Renaissance was just a "revival of classical learning an