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What is the 'Renaissance Man'?

A person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.

The term is often used to describe those great thinkers of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, each of whom excelled at several fields in science and the arts, including such individuals as Imhotep, Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangel, Galileo Galilei and John Von Neumann.

Embodying a basic tenet of Renaissance humanism that humans are limitless in their capacity for development, the concept led to the notion that people should embrace all knowledge and develop their capacities as fully as possible.

This was expressed in the term "Renaissance man" which is often applied to the gifted people of that age who sought to develop their abilities in all areas of accomplishment: intellectual, artistic, social and physical. This term entered the lexicon during the twentieth century and has now been applied to great thinkers living before and after the Renaissance.

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