Difference between Middle Ages and Renaissance

Middle Ages vs. Renaissance

What is difference between middle Ages and Renaissance? Humanity has gone through different historical periods, some of development; others of crisis, but without a doubt each one has its characteristics that differentiate them from the others. Today we are talking about what are some differences between two of the most important periods in history: the Renaissance and the middle Ages.

“Renaissance” means literally “resurface”, “reborn”. It was a European cultural movement that developed between the end of the XIV century and the XVI. The middle Ages, on the other hand, predated the Renaissance; is situated between the fifth and thirteenth centuries. Both times were remarkably different from each other and now we will tell you why and what is difference between Middle Ages and renaissance.

Difference between middle Ages and Renaissance

Middle Ages

During the middle Ages, power was concentrated in the Church; it had a strong influence on the lives of individuals. People followed the laws of the church because they thought they came directly from God. Over time, many excesses were given within this system until eventually they contributed to its decline. Before the Renaissance, the Roman Catholic Church was the only universal European institution. In the Middle Ages all artistic thought and expression was theocentric. It was not until the Renaissance that humanism was introduced.

The middle Ages are also known as a period of obscurantism, given the poor development of philosophical and intellectual thought; since the principle of authority placed faith above reason. The literature and studies in this period were especially limited to the friars who lived in the monasteries and other persons occupying positions in the Church; all due in part to the fact that the only two languages ​​that were accepted in the literary field were Greek and Latin.

The artistic style that prevailed in the middle Ages is Gothic. The Gothic style in architecture is characterized by pointed arches and ribbed vaults. Gothic art uses flying buttresses and ornamental gables. A fine example of medieval art is the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.


The Renaissance was a cultural movement that involved a renewal of knowledge, a return to the classical ideal of Greece and Rome, the development of infrastructure and a gradual reform of education. The Renaissance can be considered as a kind of bridge between the middle Ages and the Modern Age. He is best known for his art, since it was the age of many geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci, Petrarch, Dante and Michelangelo.

A very important difference between the Renaissance and the middle Ages is that of technique. The artists of the Renaissance followed the most classic form of art, portray above all human beauty and references predominated to the gods and goddesses of Greco-Roman mythology. Renaissance artists had a deep sense of perspective and developed two dimensional effects. Michelangelo’s David is a good example of Renaissance art.

The development of the printing press was the greatest cultural achievement of the Renaissance. This encouraged writers to write in the local language. The writers changed the vernacular languages ​​of the Greek and the Latin and incorporated others in the writings. Literature at this time reached new heights with the literature of the Elizabethan period. In Renaissance literary art, we also resort to the representation of human beings.

Key Differences between the middle Ages and the Renaissance

  • The middle Ages are a period between the fifth and thirteenth century, while the Renaissance covers the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.
  • During the middle Ages there was an intellectual and artistic stagnation, while in the Renaissance great figures stand out and inventions are made that contribute to cultural and economic progress.
  • During the Renaissance the printing was used and in the Middle Ages the parchment.
  • During the Middle Ages all thought and artistic expression followed a theocentric line, while at the arrival of the Renaissance all this is replaced by art humanistic thinking.