Renaissance literature was a period of great literary and artistic achievements in Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Renaissance, which means rebirth in Italian, saw the revival of classical learning and literature, and the emergence of new genres such as humanism, epic poetry, and satire. During this period writers sought to capture the beauty of nature through their words, while artists explored new techniques to express their ideas.During this period many writers focused on topics related to humanism such as individual liberty, morality, education and religion. Writers such as Dante Alighieri and Petrarch wrote epic poems about their journeys through Hell or purgatory. They also wrote about philosophy and politics in works like Machiavelli’s The Prince which examined the use of power for political gain. Other famous Renaissance authors included William Shakespeare who wrote romantic plays like Romeo & Juliet; Christopher Marlowe who wrote dark dramas; Miguel de Cervantes who wrote Don Quixote; John Milton who wrote Paradise Lost; Edmund Spenser whose Faerie Queen was an allegorical tale about love; and Ben Jonson who introduced comic elements into his plays with characters such as Falstaff from The Merry Wives of Windsor.In addition to writing during the Renaissance era there were many advances in art including oil painting which allowed artists to create greater depth than with tempera paints before them. Artists like Michelangelo painted frescoes on church ceilings while Leonardo da Vinci created masterpieces like his Mona Lisa painting that blended realism with emotion expressionism. Printmaking also became popular during this time enabling artists to rapidly produce reproductions of artwork that could be widely circulated among audiences around Europe.
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