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Innovation and Stagnation

The question of innovation (scientific, social, artistic, literary, philological and philosophical) and its opposite, stagnation, allows us to view the Renaissance in all its complexity, without reducing it to the one-dimensional image of a time when humanity achieved great, univocal progress. Masterpieces of human culture arose, in fact, from the ruins of war, sacking, and extreme poverty in the vast majority of the population. In the individual geographic itineraries we can see concrete examples of innovation in various fields of knowledge, but also the most tragic moments, when war and poverty thrust European civilization back into stagnation. And more often than not, these two stages did not occur in alternation, but were closely interwoven with each other. Great artistic and architectural progress can, in fact, be achieved expressly during times of crisis, and in response to them.

Taking into consideration innovation, stagnation and their mutual interaction in Renaissance times can be a good starting point for reflection on contemporary Europe, and on how to promote cultural and social progress that also contemplates the possibility of stagnation, to avoid it as far as possible. The ideal scope is the promotion of a new Renaissance that, being aware of the limitations of the historical Renaissance, can go on to surpass them.

Related itineraries

  Following Machiavelli’s footsteps

  The Alhambra and Granada Caroline: the dream of Emperor

  Monastery of Serra do Pilar: a window on Europe

  Renaissance route in Malopolska

  On the trail of Francis I