Characteristics of Humanism/Main names and works

Humanism is an ethical, cultural, philosophical and artistic posture that emerged in the 15th century in Europe, which emphasizes the importance of human beings themselves as a source of value formation. Characteristics of Humanism

Humanism is seen as a progressive view contrary to supernaturalism (belief in the existence and participation of supernatural entities in mundane events). Considering that the humanist current began during the Renaissance, it contributed to the diminishing influence of the church at that time.

With anthropocentric foundations, humanist philosophy offered new forms of reflection on various aspects of life and soon found expression in the arts, literature and philosophy.

Learn about the main characteristics of humanism:

1. Values ​​rationalism

Humanists believe that only scientific evidence makes a concept acceptable and accurate. According to the current, reason, speculation and the scientific method are tools perfectly capable of obtaining satisfactory answers about the world, without the need to resort to the supernatural.

2. Grounds ethics and morals on human values

Humanism establishes that values ​​such as love, respect and honesty must be developed through individual and mundane experiences. Thus, the humanist current rejects the idea that external forces should dictate the morality of human acts, as well as disregarding any religious concept on the subject.

For humanists, it is necessary to observe the common desires and needs among humans and, through reason and social dynamics, to evolve values, beliefs and moral standards as a way to achieve happiness, freedom and progress. Characteristics of Humanism

3. Gives full responsibility to humans

Considering that humanism disregards the influence of supernatural beings in human relationships, the philosophical current assigns to humans the total responsibility for their actions.

For humanists, humanity has control over all aspects of life and has the power and knowledge to solve any problem. So any crisis that develops is your complete responsibility.

4. Values ​​the contrast of ideas and beliefs

Humanists recognize the advantages of adopting divergent views as a way to evolve as a society. With regard to religion, humanists are classified as “non-theists”, as their adherents are often atheists, agnostics or even deists.

5. Aims at personal fulfillment

Humanism aims at the personal fulfillment of all human beings. The absence of belief in supernatural forces or in the afterlife means that there is only one life to be lived. Thus, the gift must be valued and any wish or dream must be pursued as soon as possible.

6. Absence of dogma

The adoption of certainties or absolute truths is incompatible with humanism. Considering that the focus is always the human being, the plurality of opinions added to the natural transformations in society mean that humanists are always open to questioning and reviewing their precepts. Characteristics of Humanism

7. Development of new techniques and artistic interests

In the field of arts, humanism instigated a transformation in artists’ interests and inspirations. The sculptures and paintings now featured extremely high degrees of detail in facial expressions and human proportions. Furthermore, it was during the Renaissance that painters developed the techniques of linear perspective and vanishing point.

Main names and works of humanism

Humanism has had a great influence on all branches of the arts, serving as an inspiration for some of the best known works in the world. Check out the main humanist artists of the Renaissance period below, followed by some of their works:


  • Francesco Petrarca: Songbook and Triumph , My Secret Book and Itinerary for the Holy Land
  • Dante Alighieri: The Divine Comedy , Monarchy and Conviviality
  • Giovanni Boccaccio: Decameron and The Philocolo
  • Michel de Montaigne: Essays
  • Thomas More: The Utopia , The Agony of Christ and Epitaph Characteristics of Humanism


  • Leonardo da Vinci: The Last Supper, Mona Lisa and Vitruvian Man
  • Michelangelo: The Creation of Adam, Sistine Chapel Ceiling and Last Judgment
  • Raphael Sanzio: School of Athens, Sistine Madonna and Transfiguration
  • Sandro Botticelli: The Birth of Venus, The Adoration of the Magi and Spring


  • Michelangelo: La Pieta, Moses and Madonna of Bruges
  • Donatello: Saint Mark, Prophets and David Characteristics of Humanism

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button