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Western Culture: Renaissance to Modernity

It is remarkable how the world has progressively developed since the Renaissance period. There is a significant change in scientific, artistic, political, and technological advancements. Therefore, if someone from the Renaissance period travels to the contemporary culture, they might have different responses and views. This paper explores the experience that Leonardo da Vinci would have in the modern world. Additionally, it covers some of the differences and similarities between modern culture and the Renaissance era.

Leonardo da Vinci was a well-educated male Italian painter, engineer, architect, sculptor, and inventor. He belonged to the upper class. Through his artwork as well as innovation in mathematics and sciences, he was able to impact the Renaissance period significantly. Some of his famous and influential paintings include the “Mona Lisa” and “Last Supper” (Matthews et al., 2014). Additionally, Leonardo’s notebooks disclose his spirit of scientific inquiry and mechanical inventiveness. Given Leonardo’s curiosity and creativity, his experience in present-day America would be fascinating. This is majorly because of the advancement in technology. During the 1500s, limited tools, machinery, and transportation might have hindered great scholars such as Leonardo from thinking bigger. However, with technological advancements, Leonardo would have a wider range of tools and machinery that would allow him to create more intricate and detailed works.

The American government structure would be completely different from the one Leonardo is used to. For one, during the Renaissance, most societies were dominated by monarchs (Matthews et al., 2014). This was a hereditary position, where only male rulers ruled the whole state. The American government, on the other hand, is a democratic government where citizens have equal rights and a say in who runs the government. The American government also separates power into several branches to avoid misuse, unlike the Renaissance era, where monarchs held most or all of the power. Despite these differences, some aspects of modern politics have not changed. Just as in the Renaissance period, today, politicians still argue and fight for the betterment of their constituents.

Besides the difference in the government structure, Leonardo would also encounter some social differences. In this modern world, women hold positions of power and authority, which was unheard of during the Renaissance (Matthews et al., 2014). The women of the Renaissance were denied or had limited political and social rights. All women were expected to engage in household tasks and take care of the needs of their husbands. Therefore, Leonardo seeing women who work as engineers, doctors, lawyers, and politicians would be shocking.

Contemporary art has different styles and techniques from that of the Renaissance era. Therefore, Leonardo’s artwork and architecture are based on accurate observation, realism, and imitation of nature (Matthews et al., 2014). On the contrary, today’s literary arts and architecture do not focus on realism and accuracy. Instead, it is based on personal innovation and experimentation. The most familiar aspect of present-day Western society for Leonardo would be the pursuit of knowledge. Leonardo was curious to pursue and advance his knowledge. Therefore, seeing that contemporary culture also values knowledge advancement through education will be a familiar concept. However, Leonardo might find adjusting to the modern era’s reliance on technology challenging. He was well known for his critical thinking skills and creativity. Hence, navigating a world where information is easily obtained and everyone relies on technology can overwhelm him.

Leonardo da Vinci would have an incredible experience in the modern culture. This is because, first, he will experience a democratic government. A government in which individuals can elect their leader and have equal rights. Second, although he might find it challenging, he can access modern technology and use it to improve his work. Modern materials and media would greatly influence Leonardo’s art and architecture.


Matthews, R. T., Platt, F. D., & Noble, T. F. X. (2014). Experience Humanities Volume II: The Renaissance to the Present (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill.


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