Ah, yes. The Renaissance. When Europe's ideology switched on a dime and we unanimously decided that The Church shouldn't act as our government. A clean, industrious period where every street was covered in great works and society took leaps and bounds forward.
Or, that's what we have been told about it.
The truth is, the transition wasn't easy. This was a messy, violent time. While most of the conflict was resolved in the refined art of war, a lot of it was settled by the warring sides trying to outperform the other in artistic combat.
Pair this with the rapidly changing ethos of the common man; as Wikipedia puts it :"One theory that has been advanced is that the devastation in Florence caused by the Black Death, which hit Europe between 1348 and 1350, resulted in a shift in the world view of people in 14th century Italy. Italy was particularly badly hit by the plague, and it has been speculated that the resulting familiarity with death caused thinkers to dwell more on their lives on Earth, rather than on spirituality and the afterlife. It has also been argued that the Black Death prompted a new wave of piety, manifested in the sponsorship of religious works of art."
The changing of Humanism's focal point from being solely the Church meant that many people were enabled to think with their own minds. As a result, scientific thinking became commonplace. At the time, this shift was difficult. Imagine spending your whole life believing the same story as everybody around you, then realising that there's something you could do better.
The lives of common men deteriorated into war and sickness for a while due to many factors. Far too many to list here. But during this, artists were inspired to capture the world around them, no longer focusing on the far reaches of heaven.
With a focus on their own lives, people begun to build together, no longer relying on the Church. This meant that art moved the common focus to the scientific. Many of the advances that we have today are due to these factors, but at the time, there was a veritable arms race. So many advances came so quickly that Europe was hardly recognisable.
Unfortunately, The U.K, (England, Scotland, and Wales at the time) were too late to pick up on the trend. This meant that our development was stunted, and the Church still held considerable power until later in our development. Now, we can enjoy many luxuries thought impossible due to the mess that the world was in at the time.