A Grand "Rebirth"
These new cultural sentiments manifested themselves in the art of the era. Renaissance art, born at the hands of the painter Giotto in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, focused on realistic, life-like representations of human subjects. Additionally, these subjects often performed secular, everyday tasks (see the works of the Dutch Golden Age); during the Middle Ages, by contrast, works had normally depicted biblical scenes or religious idols. To be certain, though, Renaissance works, especially those in Italy, were still largely religious.
The trends of humanism and individualism motivated some painters to even exaggerate the human form. Michelangelo's subjects were practically superhuman, more well-built than any man ever could be, but depicted as such to represent man's great power and potential. The development of new painting techniques, especially linear perspective (see del Verrocchio and da Vinci's The Annunciation below) and chiaroscuro (or realistic shading), enabled such artistic advancements.
New Political Realities
In this way, the Renaissance sparked a new, globally oriented Europe. Soon, countries had colonies dotting the coasts of Africa, America, and India, first as trading posts but eventually as settlements. Everywhere they went, Europeans brought Western culture to new peoples (most of whom would wish the Europeans had never come). Europe—and the world—had been reborn. The new politics, economics, and culture of Renaissance Europe set the stage for the modern Europe to come, and the world would never again turn back.
And that, my friends, is the European Renaissance in a bathroom break.