During the renaissance, arts and science fused together seamlessly. Artists like Leonardo da Vinci studied anatomy to create more life-like sculptures and paintings. Architects like Filippo Brunelleschi used mathematics to design more complex buildings and structures. Renaissance scientists made major discoveries, such as Galileo’s improvement of the telescope and his confirmation of a heliocentric solar system.
The era’s humanist scholars also revived ancient writings and explored new ideas in the natural and social sciences. They also challenged the old beliefs of their day, including those of the Catholic Church. Political philosophers like Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas More used the ideas of Roman and Greek thinkers to critique the way modern government worked.
Scientific advances fueled by Renaissance discovery included a deeper understanding of chemistry and biology, along with the first attempts at physics experiments. This gave rise to the concept of gravity and helped launch the Age of Exploration. The ability to sail the seas allowed Europeans to explore the world and make contact with Indigenous peoples in a process of colonization and slavery that still reverberates today.
The renaissance began in Florence, one of the independent city-states of Italy, due to the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici. It then spread throughout northern and central Europe, including France and the Spanish lands. The renaissance also saw the development of polyphonic music by composers such as Josquin des Prez and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, and the development of Italian opera.