Every culture has important formative periods in its past; times when culture in general and the arts in particular reached a perceived apex. Often these achievements set an entirely new direction, and are the standard against which subsequent contributions may be compared for thousands of years thereafter. Often these are the legacies of Renaissance Events, though they can equally well be the result of a long period of prosperity and stability, or of the years immediately after the foundation of a new culture or polity, when patterns are set that will be followed for generations to come. For instance, the "Western"; cultures of Old Earth regarded the preceding Greco-Roman cultures as "classical". Comparable periods for other Old Earth cultures might be Zhou through Han dynasty China for "Eastern"; cultures, or the Vedic Age for the cultures that arose on the Indian subcontinent. A period may be regarded as classical in relation to a particular religion, polity, or art as well. Classical Arabic, from Old Earth's Umayyad and Abbasid times, is still the standard in many parts of the Stellar Umma, and well into the Interplanetary Age key compositions created in Western music between the 4th to 1st centuries BT (16th to 20th centuries c.e.) were referred to as classical. The last period that might be regarded as classical by Terragens in general was the First Federation; since then "classical" has had a much more restricted meaning, applying to some much smaller part of the Terragen sphere, though the local classical period may be a touchstone for many trillions of sophonts. In the Inner Sphere, those who look backward to the height of the Penglai "Empire" or the Eridanus League are good examples; there are many more elsewhere. Classical studies are attempts to understand or emulate these periods. Occasionally this leads to a revival of arts that have long been forgotten, or becomes part of a new synthesis that will itself be regarded as classical by future generations.
da Vinci, Leonardo - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Old Earth Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer, mathematician, scientist, and inventor, considered the ideal superior, and the supreme example of Renaissance genius.
Maximalism - Text by Stephen Inniss An artistic movement, the successor to Modernism, that arose in the middle Information Age and remained widespread through to the dawn of the First Federation. Characterized by the use of complexity and detail.
Patternism, Clade Patternism - Text by Stephen Inniss The study of the deep seated cultural and aesthetic biases and resulting societal patterns specific to certain clades, and the way these produce and are produced by the physical environment and how they can be manipulated by memetic influence.
Renaissance Event - Text by Stephen Inniss A flowering of artistic creativity, scientific discovery, technology and trade, together with some significant changes in the operation of personal culture, and a political ferment. There is typically a "rediscovery" of some older cultural models and information or an influx of new foreign ideas, or both, and usually an upsurge in local population. A renaissance event often sets the pattern for future cultural development in ages to follow.