World's Most Famous Renaissance Men or Universal Geniuses
What is a Renaissance man? Renaissance man is synonymous to the terms ‘Universal Man’ or “Man of the World’. The terms are related and used to describe a person who is well educated or who excels in a wide variety of subjects or fields. Only 28 persons are recognized as "universal geniuses" in the world. The following people listed below represent prime examples of "Renaissance Men".
Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)
Leonardo da Vinci’s the most famous Renaissance man of all. He is the prototype of the universal genius, the "prodigious polymath. Leonardo was a prolific painter, sculptor, engineer, astronomer, anatomist, biologist, geologist, physicist, architect, philosopher and humanist. For the extraordinary and unprecedented range of his work, of which only a minority survives, he is justly considered by many the most diversely talented person. The scope and depth of his interests were without precedent. His mind and personality seem superhuman, the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.
Isaac Newton (1643–1727)
And who doesn’t know Isaac Newton, the English Renaissance man who introduced and described to us universal gravitation and the 3 laws of motion? Sir Isaac was a physicist, mathematicians, astronomer, theologian, natural philosopher and alchemist. His treatise Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica laid the groundwork for classical mechanics which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries and is the basis for modern engineering.
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642)
Galileo Galilei is one of the most famous astronomers of all-times. He is regarded as a Renaissance man for his wide knowledge in various fields. Galileo was a scientist, mathematician, astronomer, physicist, and philosopher. He made significant and fundamental contributions to many sciences such as motion, materials, astronomy; he adapted telescope devices to astronomical purposes and many others. Galileo was also excellent in flute playing and painting. Galileo has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy," the "father of modern physics," the "father of science" and "the Father of Modern Science."
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
Thomas Jefferson is regarded as one of the most popular Renaissance men. Jefferson was the 3rd President of the United States. This polymath is known for his long list of achievements in various areas. Thomas Jefferson was a philosopher, author, lawyer, architect, musician, naturalist, botanist, inventor, engineer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist.
Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)
Blaise Pascal is among the most famous physicist in the world. This Renaissance man from France was a mathematician, the first constructor of mechanical calculators, philosophers, theologian and one of the greatest masters of French prose. This genius is seldom recognized as polymath because this word doesn't exist in French. He was 12 when he rediscovered mathematics using rounds and bars; he was 16 when he wrote the deepest book on conics seen since Antiquity; he was 19 when he reduced to mechanical means a science which exists only in the mind and at 23, he found the weight of air.
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
Benjamin Franklin is a Renaissance man often regarded as the ultimate Creole intellectual and a real polymath. He is well remembered for his researches in natural sciences as well as politics and literature. Benjamin was also a leading author, political theorist, politician, printer, scientist, inventor, civic activist, publisher and diplomat. Franklin invented the lightning rod, bifocals, carriage odometer, Franklin stove, and the glass armonica. He formed both the first public lending library in America and the first fire department in Pennsylvania.
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)
Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the most popular artist of the Renaissance era and highly regarded as a Renaissance man for his exceptional performance in various field. He was a good architect, a splendid sculptor, an excellent painter, poet and writer.
Jose Rizal (1861–1896)
Of all the known and recognized Renaissance men, Jose Rizal is the most recent of them all. This Filipino patriot, who is the national hero of the Philippines, was an ophthalmologist, poet, novelist, volcanologist, biologist, political scientist, surveyor, painter and polyglot. From the time of Rizal up to present, there is no Renaissance man that existed.
Other Renaissance men
His Islamic name is Ibn Rushd, a man of diverse interests. He was an Andalucian Arab polymath, doctor, physician, philosopher, lawyer, astronomer, jurist, mathematicians and theologian.
Ibn Khalun (1332–1406)
Ibn Khaldun, a certified Renaissance man, was a person of many talents. He was an Arab sociologist, social scientist, historian, economist, Islamic scholar, political theorist, statesman, diplomat, theologian, military theorist, philosopher of history, historiographer, linguist and demographer.
Leone Battista Alberti (1404–1472)
Leone Battista Alberti was a poet, painter, poet, medalist, philosopher, writer-novelist, hydraulic engineer, cryptographer, architect and musician.
Baha ad-Din al-Amili (1547-1621)
Another Renaissance man is Baha ad-Din al-Amili. He was a polymath who excelled in mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, poetry and architecture.