End of the Renaissance
Scholars believe the demise of the Renaissance was the result of several compounding factors.
By the end of the 15th century, numerous wars had plagued the Italian peninsula. Spanish, French and German invaders battling for Italian territories caused disruption and instability in the region.
Also, changing trade routes led to a period of economic decline and limited the amount of money that wealthy contributors could spend on the arts.
Later, in a movement known as the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic church censored artists and writers in response to the Protestant Reformation. Many Renaissance thinkers feared being too bold, which stifled creativity.
Furthermore, in 1545, the Council of Trent established the Roman Inquisition, which made humanism and any views that challenged the Catholic church an act of heresy punishable by death.
By the early 17th century, the Renaissance movement had died out, giving way to the Age of Enlightenment.
Debate Over the Renaissance
While many scholars view the Renaissance as a unique and exciting time in European history, others argue that the period wasn’t much different from the Middle Ages and that both eras overlapped more than traditional accounts suggest.
Also, some modern historians believe that the Middle Ages had a cultural identity that’s been downplayed throughout history and overshadowed by the Renaissance era.
While the exact timing and overall impact of the Renaissance is sometimes debated, there’s little dispute that the events of the period ultimately led to advances that changed the way people understood and interpreted the world around them.