Considering such witnesses of the time as Shakespeare, Dante, Petrarch, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Montaigne, More and Bacon, Agnes Heller looks at both the concept and the image of a Renaissance man. The concept was generalised and accepted by all; its characteristic features were man as a dynamic being, creating and re-creating himself throughout his life. The images of man, however, were very different, having been formed through the ideas and imagination of artists, politicians, philosophers, scientists and theologians and viewed from the different aspects of work, love, fate, death, friendship, devotion and the concepts of space and time. Renaissance Man thus stood as both as a leading protagonist of his time, one who led and formulated the substantial attitudes of his time, and as one who stood as a witness on the sidelines of the discussion. This book, first published in English in 1978, is based on the diverse but equally important sources of autobiographies, works of art and literature, and the writings of philosophers. Although she uses Florence as a starting point, Agnes Heller points out that the Renaissance was a social and cultural phenomenon common to all of Western Europe; her Renaissance Man is thus a figure to be found throughout Europe.

chapter |25 pages


Is there a ‘Renaissance ideal of man'?

part |30 pages

Uneven development

part |89 pages

Antiquity and the Judaeo-Christian tradition

chapter |25 pages


chapter |11 pages

A glance at the past

chapter |38 pages

Stoicism and epicureanism

chapter |7 pages

Ecce Homo:

Socrates and Jesus

part |224 pages

Ethics and life: man's practical possibilities

part |83 pages

Philosophical anthropology

chapter |19 pages

Nature and man

chapter |19 pages

Work, science, techné, art

chapter |14 pages

Knowledge; body and soul

chapter |27 pages

What is man capable of?