During the Renaissance period, individualism and focus on the self began to emerge through the literature and art of this time. The word Renaissance means Rebirth which is a good description of what was happening during this time. There was a rebirth of new prospectives. The people of this time changed their prospective on the human and that it is viewed as a self rather than a soul.
The self during the Renaissance was important to bring into existence. During the time of the Renaissance social status was based on one’s bloodline and how much land they owned rather than on money. In the story of Nastagio and the cruel maiden, Nastagio loves the cruel maiden, however, she does not love him back. She is of greater social status than Nastagio which makes her even more desireable. He goes to the extreme of frightening her with a display of another couple that were once in a similar situation as them. The display is of a knight chasing around a naked woman who he had loved so much that he was driven to kill himself because she would not have him. After the naked woman had gone to hell her duty there was to be chased around everyday by the knight and brutally killed with him ripping out her heart for as long as she was cruel to him. This display got to the cruel maiden and she immediately had a change of heart and agreed to be Nastagio‘s wife. This tale brings out the concept of how one would practically do whatever it took in order to bring themself into existence both socially and to their lover.
This concept of the self is also brought out through the art of the Renaissance. In the piece, Giving of Keys to Saint Peter, there is a new depth present. There is a depth in the lines that are on the courtyard that direct the focus towards the center of what is suppose to be the Sisteenth Chapel. In the chapel are two human figures looking out of the door towards the presenting of the key. The two human figures seem as though they are a reflection of the viewer looking at the painting. The painting makes the viewer feel like they are a part of the painting. Like they are the one’s looking at this scene from inside the chapel. The concept of bringing the self into existence is evident through this including of the viewer, however, it is even more evident when the focus is on one of characters in the scene that is the actual painter himself, Piatro.