The Accomplishments of Past Heroes Molding the Modern World

Subject: Art
Type: Expository Essay
Pages: 10
Word count: 2663
Topics: Painting, Leonardo Da Vinci, Martin Luther King, Renaissance
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John Wyclif

He was Augustinian Platonist and against the Aristotle. He was a disciple of a Czech priest. He was the founder of the Lollardy. Many historians refer to him as the ‘morning star of reformation’. He fought against the Papacy rule at the time. He claims that their teachings and rules were unfounded and that they reestablished the scriptures into a Christian authoritative dictatorship (Cahill, 129).

John was the person who faced the most animosity from the church before Martin Luther King.  After his death, the current Pope at the time, Pope Martin V, ordered people to dig up his remains, burn them and throw his ashes in the river. It was desecration of his grave, which might not have been wrong at the time but is wrong in the modern world as it is against religious belief because it is disturbing the remains of a dead person.

John made a valid contributing to the modern world in terms of religion. While he was still alive, he translated the Bible. The New Testament was in English. His translated book was the dubbed King James Version, which underwent many improvements over time and other made their own Bible imitations from it. His teachings emphasized on justification of faith rather than works. It means that people should not just outwardly show their faith through works such as the popes but should justify it through every aspect of their live. It is very similar to Luther’s teaching where he encourages people to be Christians of Sprit. 

Savonarola

Savonarola was a Dominican friar born in 1452. He was the grandson of a drunk who encouraged drunkenness as a means to prolong life. He was a loner, humble and did not speak to women. He was an actor who came out as a prophet.  He started out in 1481 and when all did not go well he left, went and practiced, and came back in 1491.His presence was during the reign of Lorenzo De’ Medici. He prophesied of Lorenzo’s death and stated that if the people did not give up worldly pleasures (gaming and clothes) they will receive judgment like Sodom. After the death of Lorenzo many saw that his prophesies were becoming true and believed in him, even great humanist such as Michelangelo. He then prophesied war was coming to Italy and the politicians changed their constitution with Savonarola in charge.

His domination lead to a new revolutions, rich families and celebrities alike succumbed to his words. They gave up their wealth so as not to die in the war. Even children, they had to cut their hair and made to go around the city collecting donations for the poor. He reign did not last, as he was not competent in politics. He lost the confidence of the French, Antagonized the new pope and sent the Florentines to die. His actions made the region result in starvation. Despite his actions, he continued to preach stating that the papacy was satanic and promoting vice and whoredom. His believers reduced and they gathered against him, torturing him until he confessed his actions, convicted of heresy and burned at a stake (Cahill, 62-69).  

He was one of the people that started the phrase ‘It is not I who preach…but God who speaks through me’. It is a common phrase, which many priests and pastors use today towards their congregation. His action show how false prophets can reign not only in the past world but also in the modern world. Today, people still follow Savonarola ways and misguide believers.

Bernini

He was a sculpture artist born of a Neopolitan mother and a Mannerist sculpture from Florence. He was a catholic and had every respect for the religion. He ended each day with a prayer in church and was an advocate for the spiritual exercises of Loyola. He was also very competitive and did not like to lose. His belief and personality made him a ruthless artist that had a great impact in the papacy and the city of Rome. Some of his great works are such as Piazza Navona, Saint Peter’s Square, Scala Regia and the interior of St. Peter’s. He was talented combining sculptures, artitercture, paint and glass to make wonderful masterpieces that depict religion. The most famous work is Saint Teresa in ecstasy. His works developed the Roman culture and contributed to academics, where students use art to understand religion better (Cahill, 100-102). 

Leonardo

He was another famous artist who was famous for his works. He was an apprentice of Verrocchio. Some of his famous works are such as Baptism of Christ that dates 1472. The painting is remarkable as it uses Trinitarian symbols that elaborate on the actions of Jesus and John the Baptist. Other works are such as the virgin of the Rocks, the last supper. Many of his work concentrated on faces, he had an interest in them such as Mona Lisa. He was an engineer developing drawing of a helicopter and calculator, military strategist and peace ambassador (Cahill, 75-80).

Despite the fact that Leonardo participated in the church and made paintings that vividly depicted religion. He was not a complete believer as he engaged in sodomy and homosexuality, which was against religious and societal riles. The challenges he faced at his time is still an issue in the modern world, where homosexuality still seeks to get the approval of the society.

Apart from his famous arts that explain more about religion and culture, Leonardo was also an author, who introduced generalization, which is the use of abbreviation, even illustrated in his famous notebooks. There was adoption of abbreviation in various aspects from politics to academics. Another memorable contribution of Leonardo is his Virtruvian Man, a diagram that explains an engineering concept of the symmetric relations of human body.

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Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King was a hardworking young man who also started by being a monk. His circumstance forced him into being one as history shows he made a vow to become one to save his life. After many years, he claimed that his vow jailed his poor souls.  He himself said that ‘I have lost touch with Christ the savior and comforter…’ It was then a fellow monk introduced him to the letters of Paul. The scriptures saved him for depression and made him delve into biblical studies. It was a road for him to prepare him for a career in University.

His studies became an obsession, where he studies the bible and Paul’s letters with passion.  He compares the scripture to the current problems many people at his time were facing, which lead to the development of the psychological problem where he could not believe that he can truly receive forgiveness from God. The scripture that brought on that development was Romans 1: 17.

The enlightenment of his studies showed that Jesus condemns self-righteousness as a form of self-delusion and he appreciates honesty and humility (Luke 18:10-14). The use of the scriptures made Martin himself start writing letters opposing the pope declaring that the church exploited and abused its power. One of the great debates was that the pope could release anyone from purgatory. Martin stood up to such exploitation, showing people if the church was capable of such abilities then why did it require money to do so. It brought light to the wrong ways. He addresses such abuse by writing these letters and nailing them on the church door (Cahill, 109- 124).

Some of the letters defended Martin. His opposition against the church made him a target for many. One of the letters ‘Diet of worms’ was used to defend him from the accusations the church brought forth on him. It was accusing him of heresy. The letter dared the church to find any false or error he wrote against the scriptures. The church did not find any and they released Martin.

Martin travelled from place to place debating and enlightening people. One of the challenges that he faces was racism. At one time, he was in jail sent by the racist state of Georgia. During Luther’s time, he and his followers would burn on the stake. However, President Kennedy did plead for his case. The state released him and he fled to Germany. The act of racism is still a challenge many people face today. The difference in religious perceptive was the cause of a divide between Northern and Southern Europe, which is still present today and developed into national prejudice. 

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The contribution of Luther was his form of writing used today. The author is famous for his popular 95 letters to the pope and each one of them has a thesis. Many other authors during his time such as Erasmus adopted the use of thesis in his writing. His technique has a application in modern day learning where students write reports and include a thesis statement. He improved on the delivery of education (Cahill, 120). 

Another noticeable contribution of Luther was to religion. He spared time to translate the Bible. His translated book, Sermon on Grace and Indulgence, was the bestseller and influential book for the Germans. There is still use of his translated books in many religions across the globe. His journey that started from being an Augustinian monk prepared him to an life changing man that had a positive impact in American history and still impact humanism today. His famous books are such as ‘An admonition to peace’ (Cahill, 197).

Erasmus

Erasmus was a bastard child of a Dutch priest. He has to depend on the Brethren of the Common Life for food and shelter. When he was done with education, the monastery forced him to become a monk just for survival. His was under the obedience of vulgate or the imitation of the Christ and Erasmus wanted to distance himself from his holy life. He left the monastery and travelled to France in pursuit of intelligence. His ambition encourages literacy among many people in the modern world. 

Erasmus contributed to different areas of education, religion and humanism fields. He was a scholar or writer, who has a passion for intelligence. He travelled constantly never staying in the same place twice. His books gave him fame and fortune. Some of the books are such as his first book the Adagia, which is a collection of Latin saying and phrases. It assist scholars to translate the ancient language into modern languages by using  the saying present in the book such as Festina lente meaning make haste slowly. His documentations are a progress in the educational field regarding ancient works and world (Cahill, 194-197).

Moriae Encomium, which means in praise of the follow. The book illustrates who exactly runs the word, which is folly. She brings about drunkenness, wanton and self-love. She is the cause of war and has many important people from religious priests to kings under her belt. His word of wisdom and perception on humanity is real until today. 

The man also shaped the perception of Christianity and its religion. His book, ‘Handbook for the Christian Knight is about his uncertainties and controversies in the religion. It indicates that there are two types of Christians, which are formalistic and Christianity of the spirit. Formalistic is all about outward show of religion while Christianity of the spirit is serious about the words of Jesus Christ. He finalizes that Christians are superstitious being rather than faithful beings. The fact is true, as there have been many deaths in the past all in the name of religion. It is a silent war between the religious and non-religious, where each justifies their own. Christianity is a faith still many today question.

Ignatius Loyola

He was a Basque and a graduate from the University of Paris (Cahill, 101). He was a fugitive running away from Spanish Inquisition. His road to religion was not a great one. He was a leader in the Spanish army where he was hurt by a cannon ball. His legs were damages and surgery could not fix them (Cahill, 182). His experience made him to turn to religion. He was the founder of the Society of Jesus, which involved self-torture and fasting.

He invented the spiritual exercises, used in retreats by many religious churches in the modern world. The excises involve self-evaluation of a person’s conscious, admission of the evil that exist in the world and judgment of the actions that are from heaven and hell (Cahill, 183). The exercises are a road that enlightens many Christian into a more righteous path of their daily lives. There was no full acceptance of the exercises in the past but over the years, they became communally accepted by churches worldwide.

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The Medicis 

The Medicis (God father’s of renaissance) were people of power and influential in all aspects of world in history ranging from religion to education.  Their prosperity began in Florence where they traded in wool and their profits enabled the family to diversify. They are the founders of the Medici Bank, which allowed the men in the family to be wealthy. Later on, they entered into politics. The Medici used wealth and power to achieve their goals and all they created was political disturbance between powerful families. They were dominators, as Cosimo, one of the Medici dominated the Florentine Republic. He later died and succeed by his son Lorenzo (Lorenzo the Magnificent), who was a great ruler as he brought peace in the region (PBS).

The power the family attained over the years allowed them to dominate Florence. Many of the family goals made Florence flourish and prosper (PBS). However, during Lorenzo reign, their fortune decreased and their hold over the nation weakened. It prompted many to plot against them to consume their power. The family survived the ordeal. Lorenzo died and succeeded by his son who proved incompetent and caused an uprising that made the family to leave Florence for years. Later on, the family came back in 1512 and became the dukes of Florence. They were wealthy but no longer influential. Florence was no longer a cultural center but a political backwater.

The contributions of the family build up history and recognized in the modern world. In the 14th Century, Cosimo was in politics. There was a war going on near the Peninsula, where other nations wanted war and expansion. However, Cosimo worked to ensure there was pace in Florence. He was a great negotiator that established balance between powers of the French and the Roman Empire. The family also had a significant role to play in stopping wars in Venice, Milan and Naples. 

The family enabled appreciation of culture. They goal to bring peace and security allowed many artists such as Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael to showcase and produce their great works which are still an appreciation at modern times and inspiration for other artists worldwide (PBS). The time of Lorenzo reign allowed many to come up with new styles of security, which underwent improvement over time to develop peace among nations. Cosimo was the man that introduced Italy to ancient Greek manuscripts and culture. Lorenzo also enabled great historical sculptures that are a depiction of Italy’s culture. 

The family also made a positive contribution to literature. Lorenzo was a poet and some of his great works had applications in institutional learning. The family also had a role to play in religion. Their rule was during Martin Luther King, a time where there was abuse of religious power. It was also a time where Henry VIII was king, Catherine de’ Medici last surviving son was in power. At the time, they made religion more about attaining power that religious belief. One of the Medicis, reigned as Pope Clement VII, who introduced divorce, challenged Luther and left the papacy penniless (PBS). Their history indicates that the basis of religion was not belief but power and that aspect of it might still be present in many churches.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Cahill, Thomas. Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World. Random House, LLC, 2014. Print 
  2. PBS. Birth of a Dynasty. YouTube, 2009. Web. Aug. 11 2017. 
  3. PBS. The Magnificent Medici. YouTube, 2009. Web. Aug. 11 2017.
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