The Renaissance was a period of great cultural change that marked the end of the medieval period. It was marked by many new ideas that had not been considered before, including the rise of secularism, and the increase of interest in classical literature.
There was in the Renaissance a renewal of interest in the works of the great classical poets and writers, such as Virgil, Cicero, Ovid, Plato, and others. The humanists in particular wanted to bring back the ancient literature of the Greek and Roman masters, and went through great pains to locate lost manuscripts. There was rise in the concept of individualism, shown in the new practice of signing works of art. Gradually, the idea of the necessity of God’s grace was de-emphasized and the idea of man’s ability to attain whatever he wanted through his own merits was introduced. The idea of secularism was promoted, and an emphasis on the merits of the occupations of this world increased. Active, rather than contemplative virtues were exhorted, contemplative virtues being those of the Monks and Friars, and active virtues as those that the common man could easily attain.
Much of the Renaissance shifted focus away from the Church and away from God, and towards the perfection of man, and his infinite possibilities. That is not to say that the people of the Renaissance were irreligious, indeed many of them were quite pious, but there was a definite change to a more secular outlook on life.