Journal assignment completed for “The Self Before Selfies”
The Renaissance was a cultural revival or rebirth that introduced secularism, rationality, and individualism following the Dark Ages. It presented visual arts where it idealized the human image, and its central theme was humanism, a movement that focused on the self, emphasizing the importance of the self among Others. This pursuit of individualism was not a unifying quality for the sake of patriotism, but it was for the indulgence of “the enjoyment of intellectual and artistic pleasures, the comforts and elegancies of life, and the supreme interests of self-development.” This journey would be one of self-discovery, and it would evolve in perfecting the individual. Referred to as the “all-sided man,” the Italian man was best because of his intellect, works, and plethora of spiritual interests. While this notion appears exclusive, the individual and divine figures suit one another.
Despite the religious upset before the
emergence of Christianity, Christianity thrived because of what it offered the
individual. It was inclusive because it “not only offered anyone, regardless of
his or her sex, ethnic background, or social position, personal salvation in
the afterlife, but also extended material help in this world.” This inclusion integrated
community service and granted a sense of social belonging on the spectrum of
aspects that would otherwise make individuals feel otherized because of their
identities and socioeconomic backgrounds. The sense of the self requires some
level of social acceptance, and “the idea of a caring God” provided this.
 Burckhardt, Jacob. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, (New York City: Harper & Row, Publishers), 142.
 Kabochyra, Lisa. “Out of the Ashes: The Rise of the Communes and of Florence in the Age of Dante,” 4.