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Renaissance Man

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"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
Lazarus Long, Time Enough for Love

Many modern-day professionals work to be an expert in a field, be it mathematics, history, or graphic design. This training is what allows them to not only make a living wage, but earn a comfortable life without overexerting their brain.

Throughout history, there have been people who step beyond this and have excelled in multiple fields, called polymaths. One period in history produced several of the ones that are now most famous, the Renaissance period. Because of this, today most people know them as Renaissance Men.

A Renaissance Man is anyone in Real Life or media who is an expert in many fields, having a broad base of skill and knowledge. Many experts in a field develop skills that are necessary in other fields or find themselves requiring skills in another field. On the other hand, being a Renaissance Man used to be far easier than it is now, simply due to the unbelievable volume of knowledge that five centuries of scientific progress have produced. A few hundred years ago, it would have been reasonable for a single intelligent man to know all of humanity's scientific knowledge, but, well... Science Marches On. For these reasons, in the modern age, people who study a lot of topics besides their basic activity fall towards the Jack of All Trades end of the spectrum instead of achieving true mastery in all of them.

Take, for example, mathematics. Until recently, computer science was the domain of the mathematics department in many universities, and many math courses, such as number theory and graph theory, are still cross-listed with computer science. From physics, in order to study motion, Isaac Newton invented calculus. Sociology makes heavy use of statistics. Bioinformatics is a massive crossover between math, biology, and computer science. Many doctorate-level mathematicians will have experience and skill in one of these overlapping areas, often to the point of being called experts in both mathematics and the other field(s).

While the Renaissance Man is similar to the Omnidisciplinary Scientist, his fields don't need to be limited to science. He also isn't necessarily a master of all known science, just a good chunk of it. The Renaissance Man may suffer from M.D. Envy if people object to calling him a "doctor" because he doesn't practice medicine. This trait may be used to show that yes, The Ace is just so insufferably cool. Many a Cultured Badass will, after close examination, turn out to be a Renaissance Man. If this person is Trapped in Another World and wants to end the Medieval Stasis, the Renaissance Man may also be a One-Man Industrial Revolution.

Compare Master of All, another character with a wide variety of skills; the key difference is that a Master of All is good at a wide variety of specific things, but could still potentially fail at learning something really esoteric, like quantum physics or sociobiology. In contrast, a Renaissance Man is understood to have boundless potential—whatever he studies, he'll excel at, because he's just good at whatever he puts his mind to. Put another way, a Master of All is defined by his wide range of skills that are useful in many situations, whereas a Renaissance Man is defined by the ease with which he learns things and applies the knowledge.

The Trope Codifier was Baldassare Castiglione's Book of the Courtier (in print in several languages since 1528), which explained that a gentleman ought to be able to do everything, but nothing well enough to look as though he was a specialist.

Has nothing to do with the 1994 film starring Danny DeVito, or the next-to-last episode of Star Trek: Voyager. Polar opposite of Crippling Overspecialization.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Berserk: Although Griffith is initially introduced as a military genius and Master Swordsman, he tells Guts one has to be able to do more than fight in order to become great. To that end, he's read and mastered the skills contained in books on history, religion, philosophy, chemistry, and tactics, as well as miscellaneous subjects such as cosmetics and cooking. Another skill that serves him well in his ambitions is an extensive knowledge of drugs and poisons derived from plants. To round it off, he's a perfectly cultivated gentleman who blends in just as well on the floor of a ballroom as he does on the battlefield.
  • Bleach: Sosuke Aizen claims to have maxed out his entire potential as a Soul Reaper long ago, meaning that he has completely mastered all the Shinigami arts which include Zanjutsu (swordplay and Zanpakuto release), Hakuda (hand-to-hand combat), Hoho (speed), and Kido (spells). In addition, he is a tactician brilliant enough to be able to predict most of the actions of the Gotei 13 and Ichigo beforehand, a manipulator and actor so good that he had Soul Society in the dark for decades, is socially proficient enough to garner respect from Shinigami and Arrancar alike using masterful use of charisma, and a calligrapher accomplished enough become a teacher for it. His sheer adaptability is showcased when he simply adjusted to his former superior Shinji Hirako's sensory-reversing Shikai, a feat that Hirako himself noted was impossible.
  • Jet Black from Cowboy Bebop is an ex-detective who knows mechanics, cooking, cultivates bonsai trees, is a decent Shogi player, is knowledgeable about hacking and cyberwarfare (although nowhere as good as Ed or Ein), apparently knows something about geology, and is a fan of both several music genres and classic literature (both eastern and western). He's also not a bad starship pilot on top of it.
  • Kaguya from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War excels in all academic subjects at school, has shown skill in the arts (drawing, theater... freestyle rap), holds a black belt in aikido and judo, is the star member of the school's archery team, and speaks fluent French.
  • Lupin III:
    • Lupin III has a vast array of skills, including being a formidable engineer and an Olympic-level athlete, impersonation, deep knowledge of the arts, and many, many others. Fujiko has many of the same skills but is better at manipulating people with her beauty.
    • Lupin III: The Italian Adventure gives us Rebecca Rossellini (actress, model, businesswoman, fashion designer, thief), and a revived Leonardo da Vinci. The latter actually faces Lupin on who's best in their best skill, that is being a genius... and Lupin loses one and wins two.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED has a deconstruction with historical character George Glenn. As the first Coordinator he was a sports star, an MIT graduate with PhD at 17, built his own spacecraft and found a fossil in space (literally breaking the genre tradition of Gundam franchises to have no aliens), and gave out the coordinator technology that allowed him to be so smart and strong. However, this led to the problems in-series, with many people wanting their kids to be just like him, and many others being jealous of them. Wars started because his desire to create people to aspire led to separate nations of people who quickly degenerated into mutual genocidal desires.
  • Paptimus Scirocco from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. Starship captain, mobile suit craftsman, battlefield strategist, psychological mastermind and is a god in the cockpit.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Flit Asuno starts off as a Teen Genius mobile suit designer and quickly becomes a formidable pilot. Over the next 25 years, he shows enough battlefield and political prowess become Commander-In-Chief of the Earth Federal Forces with no detriment to his piloting skills. Another 25 years see him retire from the EAF, only to show that his mobile suit skills both in and out of the cockpit haven't diminished at all.
  • Monster (1994): Johan is fluent in Ancient Greek, knows the fine points of current German laws, is proficient enough in economics to run large-scale black market operations and advise a millionaire on his stocks, and has been proficient in the use of poison since childhood. And none of these compare to his knowledge of psychology.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Chao Lingshen can cook, runs a business taking in hundreds of millions of yen, is an excellent hand to hand fighter, helped develop a genuine AI, appears to have invented time travel, is a talented tactician, has good knowledge of Eastern medicine and is a highly competent mage. She's noted in-story as being freakishly talented at essentially everything.
  • Within Pokémon: The Series, Ash has shown a remarkable mixture of talents within the field of Pokemon beyond just battling. First becoming apparent in Johto, Ash could very easily pursue a career in such fields as Pokémon Sumo, Pokéringer, Pokémon Contests, Pokémon Racing, and Pokéathalon alongside his own skills as a Pokémon trainer if he was so inclined, to say nothing of the unrelated fields he's shown skills in, such as artistry, rock climbing, cake decoration, and Aura manipulation, though in non-Pokémon fields he is far from being consistently skilled at most every related field as he is in Pokémon.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Everyone should already know that Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury is a great student, but there is more to her than that. She's demonstrated proficiency at both CPR and mouth-to-mouth. She also has demonstrated fluency in both English and German. She is a top-ranked chess player, able to compete against chess masters three times her age. She one time was able to fix a car. She has, on occasion, written lyrics for instrumental music she likes. Also she fights monsters in her spare time. And, to top it off, one episode shows she's a talented swimmer.
    • In the manga and the anime, she has an unbelievably high IQ and spends a LOT of her time reading. The only reason she is in junior high is that Japan doesn't have a way to deal with geniuses and has to take obligatory education the same as everybody else (she even bemoans only being eight chapters ahead of the class on her "bad" days).
    • Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask is also widely regarded as one too, having an understanding of a vast knowledge of fields, although lacking Ami's specialized knowledge and raw intelligence he makes up for it by knowing things she doesn't. Like her, he speaks several languages, but also has skills in martial arts, cooking, theater, natural sciences, history, mechanics, investigations, and forensics. This is fitting considering some people like to nickname him "The Japanese Batman."
    • Being a star volleyball player and one of the best athletes in the series, singing, getting couples together with her mere presence, bilingualism, strength and agility far beyond what any human (let alone a girl her size) should have, outdoing the police in taking down criminals, being The Leader of the Sailor Guardians and The Strategist, having the second most powerful attacks out of the Inner Guardians after Sailor Moon, swordsmanship, high-level martial arts (apparently Savate) skills, using ofuda that don't even belong to her, hairdressing, and being an assistant manga artist are some things that Minako Aino/Sailor Venus has under her belt (the last one is the only one she actually called difficult). Though you wouldn't know it, with the way she normally acts around people.
      • Most of those skills have been learned before the series in her Mysterious Past, or at least off-page... And are known only because she used them. Considering the hairdressing showed up just once because Usagi's hair had suddenly grown so much she couldn't walk and Minako simply reacted by grabbing a pair of scissors, cutting it back to the previous length and even dressing it back to normal, one has to wonder what else she can do.
    • Michiru Kaioh/Sailor Neptune is a famous concert violinist and painter, a powerful soldier, and a champion-level competitive swimmer whose other skills include flying a helicopter, precognition, teaching, cooking, conducting investigations, manipulating people, and getting top grades in every school subject, and she knows something about such varied topics as religion, child care, high fashion, cosmetics, and marine life. And given how little is actually revealed about her, that's probably not the end of her talents.
  • Kogarashi in Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs is a mostly involuntary case of this. As a child, he was prone to getting possessed by ghosts who would then force him to do all sorts of activities. Through this, he became a master at (among many other things) cooking, table tennis, ice skating, and drawing manga. He then apprenticed himself to a psychic to learn how to fight off ghosts, which resulted in him being powerful enough to literally punch out any opponent.
  • Kotaro Tatsumi from Zombieland Saga has spent years mastering every form of showbiz - marketing, makeup, music composition, choreography, necromancy, gig-landing, fashion, and so forth. The only showbiz-related fault he has is graphic design. The biggest non-showbiz related fault? Sanity.

    Comic Books 
  • Betty Cooper from Archie Comics. She's a straight-A student, auto mechanic, chef, seamstress, fashion designer, singer, dancer, musician, writer, reporter, news editor, polyglot, cheerleader, gymnast, baseball player, basketball player, swimmer, gamer, entrepreneur, amateur sleuth, assistant teacher, nurse's aide, and brilliant at every one of them. If it's possible for a teenager, and sometimes if it isn't, she's done it.
  • This is immensely common amongst Badass Normal superheroes, with Batman arguably being the best known, to the point where his "training to be the best at everything" (general sciences, criminology, martial arts, detective skills, escape artistry, disguise skills, the list goes on) is a running gag amongst the fandom.
  • The Disney Ducks Comic Universe has Donald Duck, of all people. He's a skilled mechanic, pilot of everything from cars to planes and starships, truant officer, swordsman, shoemaker, cook, bodyguard, spy, mall guard, explosion expert, and many other things, with his usual undoing at a job being that he goes overboard even for his skills.
  • Fantastic Four: Doctor Doom specializes in physics, robotics, cybernetics, genetics, weapons technology, and biochemistry. He also has natural talents for leadership, strategy, politics, and manipulation. He invented time travel and created a device capable of opening inter-dimensional gateways whilst in college. He conquered his homeland more or less single-handedly, using mostly his own inventions. He has trained with the best fencers in Europe and is a very competent hand-to-hand fighter in general. He is also a highly accomplished sorceror and can perform advanced surgery. He isn't even a real Doctornote ; he got kicked out of college because said inter-dimensional gateway exploded (though it has been established that it worked perfectly; he just looked in a very bad place).
  • Mister Terrific from Justice Society of America fits this definition, being described as "having a natural aptitude for having natural aptitudes", being a prodigious scholar, athlete, engineer, martial artist, medical practitioner... (again the list goes on). This all applies to his Golden Age predecessor, too.
  • Superman:
    • Lex Luthor. He pretty much has to be in order to be of any challenge to his nemesis.
    • All-Star Superman is "Superman as a renaissance man, perfect in mind, body, and intention".
  • The Ultimates: Nick Fury is amazed that Tony Stark can conduct a multilingual business deal, satisfy a girlfriend over the phone and memorize a six hundred military briefing... at the same time.
  • In War of the Gods, the Godwave affects even heroes without paranormal abilities — implying that they in fact have a very subtle power which might be termed "Super-Competency".
  • Ozymandias, the World's Smartest Man, from Watchmen is another of these, having studied religion and philosophy, being a world expert on Quantum Physics, Engineering and Genetics, running a world-spanning corporation, while maintaining physical conditioning sufficient to catch a bullet.
  • The other Dr. McCoy, Beast of X-Men. He normally relies on his skills as a biochemist, geneticist, and physician but canonically he speaks at least 50 languages, maintains a comfortable income from electronic engineering patents, and can fight well enough to hold his own against Wolverine (he does have low-level superhuman strength and agility, but it usually takes quite a bit more than that to be more than B-list claw-fodder when going up against Logan).

    Fan Works 
  • The ending of All Mixed Up! has Oprah invoking this trope, as she opens up her precinct to cases not involving mathematics in addition to accepting and solving math-related cases. This is so agents who are skilled in other areas can have ample opportunity to solve cases involving those areas.
  • Child of the Storm has a couple:
    • Doctor Strange: to start with, he's not only a very powerful wizard, but has a degree of precision (he can literally split atoms), knowledge, and skill that allows him to fight far out of his nominal weight class. He's also a genius; the most skilled sorcerer in known history and able to pull off the supposedly impossible on a regular basis, a strategist across time and space (he's universally acknowledged as history's greatest 'temporal warrior') only possibly equalled by Thanos himself, an unequalled Seer, a skilled psychologist (something he uses to manipulate people), perhaps the greatest medical doctor ever to live, and a literally legendary bard and musician in his past life as Taliesin. In the latter capacity, he's considered to be arguably the greatest bard of all time, despite the fact that it was just a hobby. Above all, though, he is the master political manipulator, making even the Endless dance on his strings. This is all largely justified by the fact that he's immortal and at last count, he was somewhere around 500,000 years old. It's safe to say that he's had a lot of practise.
    • Separately, Harry notes that Albus Dumbledore studies more or less everything in his spare time from alchemy to high-end theoretical physics to, apparently, either psychic magic or philosophy, going by Gorakhnath's allusion to corresponding with him.
  • Hey There Clear Eyes!: After dying and being reincarnated, Ander decided he needed "to cover all bases" in order to be prepared no matter the kind of insanity his new world would throw at him. When he finishes high school, he speaks several languages, is a respected Eagle Scout, has practised markmanship and fencing, and is actively studying rhetoric to become a lawyer or politician. Unfortunately for him, such broadness of knowledge turns him in a very attractive Chosen Conception Partner for the Greek goddess of wisdom, who muses it's been a long time since she got to meet a proper polymath.
  • Odd Job Tsuna: In the hopes of earning enough money so his mother doesn't have to rely on his Disappeared Dad, Tsuna takes on a variety of different jobs that he proves to be extremely good at. He's a talented businessman, singer, racer, drill sergeant, waiter, bodyguard, model, principal, etc. And this is all before he's even a teenager.
  • Albus Dumbledore is portrayed this way in The Parselmouth of Gryffindor; aside from his magical power, appreciation of chamber music, and skill at ten-pin bowling, he is also shown to casually repair a cuckoo clock while in the middle of a conversation.

    Films — Animation 
  • Mr. Peabody & Sherman: Mr. Peabody devoted himself to the pursuit of knowledge and became active in many fields such as science and athletics, was able to produce alternative energy technologies, resolve geopolitical conflicts, play any musical instrument, is a licensed chiropractor, and a master gourmand.
  • Rapunzel in Tangled is very skilled in many areas, such as literature, music, baking, astronomy, and art. She actually learned to do all of these things on her own when living isolated in a tower.
  • In Yellow Submarine, Jeremy Hillary Boob Ph.D., the "Nowhere Man". introduces himself this way:
    Jeremy: Eminent physicist, polyglot classicist, prize-winning botanist, hard-biting satirist, talented pianist, good dentist too.
    John: A boob for all seasons.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Abominable Dr. Phibes, the eponymous doctor has a doctorate in theology from Heidelberg among a bunch of other degrees from celebrated universities, plays the organ, is a Master of Disguise, and is a quite competent Poetic Serial Killer.
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension: Buckaroo Banzai is a neurosurgeon, particle physicist, race car driver, and just for good measure a rock star as well!
  • Doctor Mabuse from Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler is a famous psychiatrist, mesmerist, Master of Disguise, career criminal, gang leader, and in one scene he is extracting snake's poison - it requires knowledge in herpetology and biochemistry.
  • Fu Manchu in The Mask of Fu Manchu claims "I'm Doctor of Philosophy from Edinburgh, I'm a Doctor of Law from Christ College; I'm a Doctor of Medicine from Harvard. My friends, out of courtesy, call me Doctor."
  • Lynn Belvedere (Not the Mr. Belvedere of the TV series, but the character in the movies Sitting Pretty, Mr. Belvedere Goes to College, and Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell) is a polymath hypergenius who can literally do anything, including the outright impossible.
  • Our Man Flint. Superspy Derek Flint is an expert in a variety of fields, including martial arts, fencing, building scientific devices (e.g. a lighter with 83 functions), ballet dancing, speaking multiple languages (including at least French and Italian), paramedic training (poisons and resuscitation) and identifying chemical substances (including cold cream and which city and which restaurant a bouillabaisse came from). The sequel, In Like Flint, also shows his expertise in sonics, desert survival, hypnotism, and astronaut training, and speaking more languages — Russian, Spanish, and dolphin.
  • Red Cliff: In addition to being The Chessmaster, Zhuge Liang is shown to know "a little" about quite a few other disciplines loosely connected to warfare and the proper administration of a state. It becomes a Running Gag throughout the story whenever he says "I know a little about X." He "knows a little" about things as diverse as animal husbandry, meteorology, medicine, and weapons design.

  • Special Agent Pendergast is a Wicked Cultured detective, ridiculously well-versed in literature, archaeology, forensics, biology, and a whole bunch of other fields.
  • Villain of the Week Arbat-Elivat-Estoni from Animorphs is this. An aging Andalite professor, Arbat is slowly revealed to be The Strategist, a Badass Bookworm, and eventually The Man Behind the Man.
  • Aubrey-Maturin:
    • Stephen Maturin, since he's a multilingual medical doctor/natural philosopher/spy.
    • Jack Aubrey himself is not only a first-rate naval officer and sailor, but also an astronomer and mathematician good enough to be inducted into the Royal Society (and, under the tutelage of William Herschel's sister, to be able to build his own telescopes), and an enthusiastic amateur musician (as Stephen Maturin discovers at one point, Jack is actually better than he presents himself to be, so as not to make Stephen feel inferior).
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: If High Priest Ferdinand is shown to dabble in anything, chances are that he'll quickly be revealed to be among the duchy's biggest experts in it. When Karstedt sees him in possession of an elaborate item he shouldn't have easy access to and asks him about it, he turns out to have made it himself. This is at least partly justified by his father being a high-ranking noble who allowed him to get an education that matched his talents.
  • Baccano!'s Huey Laforet: Brilliant scientist, ingenious inventor, intuitive sociologist, cunning entrepreneur, inspiring leader, devoted father, and excellent conversationalist.
  • Judge Holden from Blood Meridian is a charismatic, poly-lingual Omnidisciplinary Scientist with an exceptional knowledge of the arts (he is also possibly a judge). Which makes him that much more evil: while the others in Glanton gang are loutish, ignorant thugs without many prospects, Holden could be *anything* he wants and chooses to rape and slaughter his way through the west.
    • Samuel Chamberlain's account of the (possibly) real-life Holden in his memoirs fits this as well:
      He was by far the best educated man in northern Mexico. He conversed with all in their own language, spoke in several Indian lingos, at a fandango would take the harp or guitar from the hands of the musicians and charm all with his wonderful performance, out-waltz any poblano of the ball, plum centre with rifle or revolver, a daring horseman acquainted with the nature of all the strange plants and their botanical names, [and] great in geology and mineralogy.
  • Conan the Barbarian had throughout his life lived as a sellsword, a thief, a reaver, a guard captain, a gladiator, a monster slayer, a blacksmith's assistant (as a child), general of several armies, and eventually The Good King of the greatest kingdom in the world. Conan was not only an incredible fighter but a brilliant tactician, speaker of several tongues, drew the first map of the world and wrote the Song of Belit. The only skill Conan doesn't dominate at is magic, for obvious reasons.
  • Discworld
    • Leonard of Quirm on account of being an Affectionate Parody of Leonardo da Vinci. He is an expert in painting, engineering, and alchemy amongst other things, but isn't a member of any of the Guilds (when he takes Guild exams he either gets bored and starts doodling in the margins or, worse yet, absent-mindedly corrects the questions.)
    • Mr. Nutt, from Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals, is described as a 'polymath' by the Dean. Suffice to say, he makes good use of this.
    • In Equal Rites, when the Zoon leader asks Esk what chores she can perform to earn her keep, she rattles off a list of household skills that takes up half a page and encompasses many different specialties (weaving, cheesemaking, etc). Granted, they're all rural/peasant skills, but it's an impressively broad list for an eight-year-old.
    • The Discworld's Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000 lists the various degrees Vetinari earned at the Guild as follows: Doctor of Medicine & Applied Pathology, Doctor of Music, Doctor of God Studies, Master Assassin, Master of Political Expediency, Master of Alchemical Science, Member of the Institute of Dance & Deportment, Bachelor of the Science of Inhumation & Diploma in Physical Education. Whew. And he's quite good at drawing too. (The "Renaissance" part is particularly appropriate in a literal sense; "Vetinari" is a pun on "Medici". Plus he has distinct Machiavellian tendencies, and is mentioned to be writing a treatise called The Servant which is clearly a takeoff of Machiavelli's The Prince.)
  • Izaya Orihara from Durarara!! understands and speaks three languages (Japanese, English, and Russian). He studies Norse and Celtic mythology. He knows parkour and is a good enough street fighter to mess around with Shizuo "God of Destruction in a Bartender Suit" Heiwajima on a regular basis. He dicks around with social psychology, mostly to carry out completely unethical social experiments (will exposing suicidal girls to near-death experiments make them more or less likely to kill themselves? Let's find out!). He's set himself up as a very successful Knowledge Broker before even turning twenty-three. Not bad for someone who never went to a single class when he was in college.
  • In Chetan Bhagat's Five Point Someone, it is stated at the very beginning by the narrator that Ryan Oberoi, one of the three titular characters, could really do whatever he wanted. This fact is later demonstrated by various incidents in the course of the story. The fact that he really dislikes the system at the IIT and is unwilling to put in any effort at succeeding there is another matter altogether.
  • The players of The Glass Bead Game need to have expert-level understanding of literally every branch of human knowledge, as well as a fertile imagination and great improvisation skills.
  • A rather dark version is Hannibal Lecter. He is an extremely skilled psychiatrist and surgeon, a world-class Supreme Chef, is often at the symphony, can lecture professionally about Renaissance art, speaks Japanese, knows quite a bit about physics... oh, and he's a Serial Killer who fed his victims to party guests.
  • A lot of characters from The Lord of the Rings are this. Gandalf and Saruman, Elrond and Galadriel, etc... Among men, we have Denethor, who was said to be the greatest scholar in Gondor during his time, having a great amount of knowledge in many domains. His son Faramir would also qualify.
  • Jack "Doc" Thorne in The Lost World (1995). Though primarily an engineer, he has also extensively studied history, human psychology, and philosophy because he believes that it helps him better understand the fallible people who use his products.
  • Marie-Josephe Delacroix in The Moon and the Sun is a Renaissance woman—her areas of expertise include mathematics, "natural philosophy" (i.e., natural sciences), and music. She can also draw reasonably well, which is a very useful ability for a scientifically inclined person to have in the days before photography.
  • In the Nightmares & Dreamscapes short story "The End of the Whole Mess", the main character's brother studies in various different research areas including archaeology and zoology.
  • Polymath by John Brunner deals with a man in training to be able to head the colonization of a new planet (with the omnidisciplinary knowledge and skills that this would re
  • Naofumi Iwatani from The Rising of the Shield Hero gains a variety of marketable skills as time goes on. He's an expert cook, a talented apothecary, an expert businessman, and an artisan capable of making some high-quality accessories and jewelry. Justified, as his blacklisting by King Aultcray means he's on his own when it comes to financial support.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Holmes himself possesses vast knowledge in a sprawling variety of fields of science and art, in addition to playing the violin well and his proficiency as a boxer, fencer, and singlestick player. He informs Watson that "all knowledge comes useful to the detective" in The Valley of Fear and demonstrates a knowledge of geology so profound that he can tell where in London each muddy splash on his trousers came from by their colour and consistency. However, in the very first story, Dr Watson records his impressions of Holmes's abilities after living with him for a few months and concludes that, outside his "profound" knowledge of chemistry, his practical but unsystematic understanding of anatomy and law, his musical and athletic and "immense" knowledge of "every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century", Holmes is ignorant of anything he does not consider useful to the practice of deduction, to the point that he is surprised to learn from Watson that the Earth revolves around the Sun and immediately resolves to forget this knowledge because it will take up space in his brain which could be used for more useful information (the standard view from Holmes fans, of course, is that Holmes deliberately allowed Watson to underestimate his abilities until they knew each other better).
  • A Song of Ice and Fire occasionally draws attention to how this trait develops in noble families.
    • Tyrion Lannister's dwarfism forbade him from ever being trained in combat, but the guy knows his stuff with a terribly vast knowledge that spaces from politics to war strategy to engineering to municipal works administration. And despite his dwarfism, he's also brave enough to lead men in battle when it's required.
    • Despite being dead by the start of the series, many people remember Prince Rhaegar Targaryen as being talented in several different areas. Rhaegar was very intelligent and studious, often spending hours on end reading in his youth. As he grew older, Rhaegar became also an exceptionally talented knight. He also played the harp and sang (both beautifully) and would spend time alone composing songs that brought people to tears. He was also exceedingly popular with the common folk, a talent in and of itself given that many lords in Westeros can't say the same.
    • Jon Snow is already a skilled archer and swordsman when he joins the Night's Watch because he started learned when he was five, but he's also very well-read and has an in-depth knowledge of history and a reasonable grasp on politics. Because of this, unlike most of the recruits, he's positioned to be trained in a variety of other skills rather than constantly learning how to survive a fight, and the Lord Commander himself was grooming him as his successor.
    • While there is some doubt that he is who he says he is, Rhaegar's son Aegon has shown himself to be quite talented and intelligent. He reads and writes, is fluent in several languages, has a decent knowledge of mathematics, history, poetry, law, and religion, and has been trained as a knight for most of his life. Especially impressive for a prince is that Aegon has also been taught to be self-sufficient as he is able to cook, wash his own clothes and work with his hands.
    • It is clear that although Jamie Lannister is not very intellectual his training as a knight makes him a Renaissance man in his society. He can read, ride a horse, fight man-to-man, lead an army, negotiate a treaty, interpret maps, and has a reasonable grasp of both the economic and socio-political realities of Westeros.
    • Perhaps the most prominent example in the series, Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne. He is well-spoken and exceptionally skilled with a spear, but he has numerous other talents. As a young man, he studied at the Citadel (the closest thing to a university in Westeros), making strides in several fields before getting bored and leaving. He then went on to travel the world, starting his own mercenary company and developed a talent for poisons. He's also a talented horseback rider. It's also rumored that he studied magic, which seems entirely plausible given his inquisitive nature.
  • To a limited extent, Wedge Antilles in some latter parts of Star Wars Legends, particularly those parts of the New Jedi Order and Legacy of the Force which were written by Aaron Allston. In the X-Wing Series he feared that he would make a poor naval commander, but at some point, it became apparent that he was not. One of the absolute best fighter pilots in the galaxy, he also excelled at squadron command, was better than Admiral Ackbar in fleet exercises, and proved to be a ridiculously inventive master tactician and strategist. In addition, he was very competent at training new units to be highly inventive, not a bad mechanic, and dabbled in architecture.
  • In Victoria: A Novel of 4th Generation War, the ideal in the Northern Confederation is that every officer, and educated man generally, should have a solid grounding in the classics essentially amounting to this. Protagonist John Rumford has mastered multiple foreign languages, classical literature and poetry, history, philosophy, theology, and the military arts, and then farming, too.
  • "An inventor-surgeon who got fed up with patients suing him, and learned law, and then when he was tired of the bad press he was getting, founded his own newspaper"— Pendrake's intro, in War of the Dreaming

    Live-Action TV 
  • During her college education, Annie Camden of 7th Heaven studied everything from art to business and economics, and later returns to school to earn her Masters.
  • Jane of Degrassi is a great football player, valedictorian of her class, is part owner of a babysitting business, and is the lead singer for Janie and the Studs.
  • The Doctor from Doctor Who seems to know pretty much everything as required by the plot - history, science, language, mythology, you name it. One of the spinoff novels quoted him as saying that he had qualifications in everything "except HTML coding and dentistry". Of course, he's hundreds of years old and bright even by the standards of his own sufficiently advanced alien race, which might count as cheating.
  • John Crichton of Farscape. Not only did he develop his own theories on circumventing atmospheric friction to accelerate a spacecraft, he designed and built his own test ship, flew it in the test which got him shot across the galaxy, duplicated the attempt using calculations written on the deck of Moya's command off the top of his head, is the best-qualified atmospheric pilot aboard Moya, isn't half-bad flying in vacuum, either, is versed enough in String Theory to be turned on by a Peacekeeper tech who also has an interest in it, was already well along in his studies to create a wormhole even before the Ancients planted the information in his head, is a walking fountain of pop-culture references, a natural leader, and an increasingly skilled and badass warrior.
  • Frasier: Dr. Clint Webber — "let's see, he told us about the time he learned to fly a plane, he recited a sonnet, he fixed my icemaker and he invented a new drink, the 'Pink Webber'!"
  • Sergeant Dietrich of Barney Miller has claimed to study medicine, psychiatry, physics, and philosophy (among other things). Whenever the squad encounters some obscure word or concept, he's almost always the one to define it. His social circle also seems to be made up of college professors or other Renaissance Men.
  • Walter Bishop of Fringe appears to be proficient in Biology (Anatomy, most remarkably), Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Pharmacology (he knows his LSD, all right), and a whole lot of other stuff that's not mainstream science (fringe science, as they call it). Well, according to Broyles he is "called by his contemporaries as a successor to Albert Einstein."
  • Game of Thrones: From politics to war strategy to engineering to municipal works administration, Tyrion knows his stuff.
    Tyrion: That's what I do. I drink, and I know things.
  • In Gilmore Girls, Rory is described as this by every character who's spent any significant time with her. She read some of the most highly regarded works of literature at an age when most kids are learning to spell, memorized the state capitals and periodic table before her peers could tie their own shoes, and in "We've Got Magic to Do", she successfully rescues a foundering DAR event and turns it into the hit of their fundraising season while becoming something of a shop foreman for her community service roadside cleanup crew.
  • Kamilah Al-Jamil from The Good Place: Youngest person to ever graduate from Oxford University, world-class painter, sculptor, social activist, iconoclast, Olympic archer (for which she won the gold, of course), Grammy award-winning musician, youngest person ever inducted into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame (her album was so good the Hall of Fame waived the mandatory 25-year waiting period and inducted her just six months after her album was released), BAFTA award-winning documentarian (for a documentary she did on her own previously mentioned Grammy award-winning album), and person voted "Most Likely to Be Banksy". Her achievements are a frustration for her sister Tahani, who would never measure up to them.
  • House: Dr. Gregory House fits the archetype like a glove, the man is a certified genius at diagnostic medicine often able to make a diagnosis in minutes of seeing regular patients. But where this really comes into play is his vast stores of knowledge in multiple subjects not related to medicine that he uses to solve the more difficult and perplexing cases that he strives for. In addition, it has been shown that when he puts his mind to a new task he can become a complete master of that craft within days of taking it up. If only the man wasn't such a Jackass then he'd be quite admirable.
  • Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle demonstrates mastery of almost every subject that is thrown at him, from advanced math to mechanical engineering to chemistry to literature to acting - in just the first couple of seasons, when he was still a preteen. In fact, he angsts about not being able to decide what career to pursue, since he excels equally at everything he tries.
  • Leverage:
    • Hardison seems to largely have this role. In addition to being one of the greatest hackers alive, he is able to also create gadgets seemingly at will and is capable of other random abilities, including impromptu forgery, serving as a lawyer, and landing an airplane(as a traffic controller). He also happens to have been a violin virtuoso in his childhood.
    • Elliot also counts. He's a master in various martial arts(unarmed and armed), a natural athlete, an excellent chef/wine connoisseur, a decent country singer, and also knows a thing or two about high fashion (as he dates a lot of supermodels).
  • The title character of MacGyver. His degrees are in physics and chemistry, and he served as a bomb defuser in the Vietnam War; some years later, became a field intelligence officer for the DXS; then left that job to be a troubleshooter on any number of issues for the Phoenix Foundation, a think tank and government contractor. All of this left him with a truly dizzying number of skills in many different fields. He can fix just about any machine, find multiple unintended but perfectly functional uses for them, and sometimes build new ones out of scrap parts. He can break in and out of just about any facility in the world, no matter how secure, and is a fairly competent thief, con artist, smuggler, and all-around trickster. He's just as good when working on the other side of the law, as shown the numerous times he's helped the police investigate a crime or performed an entire investigation by himself. As a troubleshooter for Phoenix, the projects he's tasked with have been in fields ranging from scientific research and development to international diplomacy to environmental surveying to social work. On his own time, he's also acquired a more than passing knowledge of martial arts, race car driving, archaeology, music, and a couple dozen other things. All in all, probably one of the most versatile Jack of All Trades in the entire history of pop culture.
  • Mission: Impossible: The IMF needs something technical? Barney Collier's got them covered for mechanical engineering, electronics, electrical engineering, construction, plumbing, heating, chemical engineering, biochemistry, piloting, vehicle mechanics, weapon design, and animal training.
  • Modern Family: Phil Dunphy is a real estate salesman, a gadget junkie, a male cheerleader, and fashions himself a skilled magician. His brother-in-law, Cameron has taken part or full-time jobs as varied as history teacher, football coach, drama teacher, and choral director.
  • Mythbusters: At least one commentator has stated that if you looked up Renaissance Man in the dictionary, Jamie Hyneman's face would be the picture. He hosts a show, does special effects work, and pursues whatever interests him. He has a degree in Russian Literature of all things. And this is before you take into account his various careers.
  • NCIS: New Orleans: Dwayne Pride is once described as this by Lasalle, and it's not for nothing: in addition to his career in law enforcement, he's a Supreme Chef, bartender, business owner, and a talented jazz pianist and singer who's also bilingual (English and French). Lasalle's comment comes up in an episode where it's offhandedly mentioned that Pride also worked on an oil rig with his uncle during his summers as a teenager.
  • Odd Squad: Oprah, the Director of Precinct 13579, is skilled at a whole host of things — playing the piano, running a fruit stand, fixing cars, building things such as a small catapult, having an expansive knowledge of Odd Squad history, race car driving, skydiving...and that's not even scratching the surface. Not only that, but she's also the strongest of the main cast, and is able to take down a bear twice her size with ease.
  • Ken Hayakawa of Kaiketsu Zubat is this trope to a ridiculous extreme. No matter what form of Martial Arts and Crafts you have mastered for the sake of killing people, you're only second-best in Japan.

  • Our Miss Brooks:
    • Mr. Boynton. He teaches Biology but also was a Chemistry teacher in the past. In one episode, he almost receives a job as a College Professor ("The Wrong Mrs. Boynton"). In another episode, Mr. Conklin has Mr. Boynton mark the school's English tests ("Head of the English Department"). He also acts as Mr. Conklin's typist on occasion ("Who's Going Where?). On top of all that, Mr. Boynton has, in various episodes, coached the school basketball, football, and baseball teams.
    • Miss Brooks is also an example, in addition to teaching English, teaching French and Spanish as well on one occasion ("Saving the School Newspaper"). Miss Brooks is also a great typist, and once worked as a secretary ("Connie's New Job Offer"). "First Aid Course" suggests Miss Brooks is also a trained nurse. Miss Brooks has also taught civics ("Student Government Day") and physical education, even receiving an offer to play on a women's baseball team ("Baseball Slide").
  • Dr. Sam Beckett of Quantum Leap. He has doctorates in medicine, chemistry, quantum physics, and astronomy, can play the piano and guitar to concert standards, is an excellent singer, can speak seven modern languages and can read a number of ancient ones (including Hieroglyphics), and is familiar with a wide range of martial arts.
  • Among the main characters of Stargate Atlantis, Dr. Rodney McKay is the go-to guy for an inordinately wide variety of problems, as he has far exceeded his original field and is now Atlantis' expect on alien technology. Not surprising, as at the beginning of the series McKay was the only scientist in his team, while the other three main characters (Sheppard, Teyla, Ronon) were pilots and combat experts.
    • Dr. Lee was one of the more extreme examples. On the show we see him assist Jackson on an archeological mission, program a virtual reality machine, study alien plants and animals, hold a position at the space bridge station, build armor and weapons, and offer expertise on many other alien technologies.
      • And yet, despite all this, Dr. Lee is, more often than not, a joke and just not good enough to solve the problem of the week.
    • However, CMO Beckett, a geneticist, appears to have the McCoy-like ability to deal with everything medical from basic pharmaceutical research to surgery, though there is, or rather, was, a psychologist on board for the more headshrinky things.
  • Dr. Daniel Jackson who appeared in each branch of the Stargate franchise at least once. While his Doctorates are in Archeology, Anthropology, and Philology, his level of competence in several related fields is easily equal to that of some professionals in those fields. He speaks 23 different languages, is an expert in Mythology, and spent enough time with the rest of SG-1 that he can fill the need for a tech expert or combatant in a pinch too.
  • Star Trek: Pick a Starfleet officer. The chief medical officer, for example. It takes years to become an expert in human anatomy, but they're conversant in the physiology of many species, albeit with the help of databases and (often offscreen) secondary staff. Even characters who aren't literal medical databases or hundreds-year-old Vulcans are often conversant in classical literature—whether from Earth or not—a couple of scientific disciplines, engineering, history... Starfleet Academy does actually train for this, given that officers very often end up in diplomatic incidents, armed conflicts, uncharted scientific waters, interstellar crimes, or a combination of all those things. (Until the captain asks them to step too far outside the actual job, and then it's "I'm a doctor, not a ...!")
    • Part of this is the idea that by the 24th century, human society has reached the point we no longer need to worry about money or resources, so people are free to pursue personal improvement in whatever fields they desire. Starfleet naturally draws in the most curious and passionate members of our species, thus having the highest number of Renaissance Men.
      • Jean-Luc Picard, in addition to being a masterful captain and diplomat, is a passionate archaeologist, a skilled enough actor to give lessons to Data, moonlights as a Dixon Hill-style detective on the Holodeck, and at least once shown to be experienced in fencing and equestrianism. After "The Inner Light" he picks up a passion for music too, though he's a bit more private about that one.
      • Benjamin Sisko is a passionate baseball fan, designed and built Starfleet's first warship, then recreated an ancient starship from nothing but the illustrations (in the manner in which your average middle-aged dad might restore an antique car), a skilled cook who grows his own ingredients and makes a pretty good soldier in a time when violence is seen as something humanity has left behind.
      • Beverly Crusher, in addition to being a doctor who can expertly treat a number of species, is also a dancer, botanist, and stage director.
  • Neal Caffrey of White Collar is a highly talented con man, forger, thief, and artist - along with having an almost encyclopaedic knowledge in all those subjects. He also speaks several languages fluently, is a skilled chessplayer and a crack shot, even though he hates guns.
  • Artemus Gordon of The Wild Wild West is a Gadgeteer Genius, Master of Disguise, linguist, musician, actor, magician, chef, expert on art, wine and gemstones... basically he seems to know something about everything.

  • The list of musical genres in which Tom Jones hasn't earned a gold record is actually shorter than the list of musical genres in which he has.

  • In Edict Zero Fis, Nick Garrett has degrees in psychology, criminology, anthropology, and philosophy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Likewise, those on The Ace path in Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine can easily race a car, out-think a calculator, cook better than an expert chef, and fight as a warrior. With an expenditure of MP, they can be twice as good as anyone shaped like them could be. The only things that don't come naturally to the Ace are things that aren't natural: magical skills or things that they lack the physical equipment to do.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, the player can easily become one of these with the appropriate skill allocation with Bards and Rogues specially qualified for it. Above all, the Factotum class is able to do more than any other class. In addition to getting all skills as class skills, he is able to cast arcane spells, heal loads of hit points, and swing like a fighter, among many other things.
  • Maid RPG. In the replay "Maids at the End of the World", the Master is Masami Onji, a scholarly genius who is greatly knowledgeable about every field imaginable.
  • In Nobilis, a Noble with Aspect 1 can complete any task as if he or she were an expert. At Aspect 2, they achieve the maximum human performance. At Aspect 3 or higher, they can do things that normally aren't conceivable for a human to try or even things that are physically impossible.
  • Princesses of Swords in Princess: The Hopeful are supposed to be this, with the introductory paragraph paraphrasing the page quote.
  • Warhammer 40,000 's Emperor of Mankind is depicted as an unparalleled master of combat and strategy, as well as being the galaxy's greatest psyker and a revolutionary scientist and bioengineer. He probably developed some of these skills while in the guise of various historical figures who guided humanity's development throughout recorded history. sadly, he never quite got around to learning to be a good father, leading to the galaxy being in its grimdark state.

  • Cyrano de Bergerac:
    • Cyrano (both in the play and in Real Life): poet, duelist, soldier, philosopher, physicist, musician, playwright, and novelist.
    • Cardinal Richelieu (in the play and in Real Life): priest, clergy, politician, soldier, philosopher, playwright, and Magnificent Bastard.
  • The title character of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, according to Ophelia.
    Ophelia: O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
    The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
    The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
    The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
    The observed of all observers, quite, quite down!

  • The amount of jobs Barbie has had over the years makes her a true renaissance woman.

    Video Games 
  • In Age of Empires, all of your Villagers are by default skilled foragers, builders, hunters, butchers, farmers, lumberjacks, and miners. While not ideal, they can also at least defend themselves in a fight, and some civilizations (the Spanish in II, the English in IV) give them extra bonuses to help them out in combat.
  • It's heavily implied that Rucks from Bastion is one of these, judging by how familiar he is with Caelondia's various guilds. More specifically, it's implied that he was at least a member of the Triggers and the Masons and confirmed that he was one of the Mancers that designed the superweapon that caused the Calamity. His vast knowledge may stem from going back in time and reliving his life as both Rucks and The Kid over and over again in an attempt at getting it 'right'.
  • Phoebe from Battleborn is a female example, fitting considering that others refer to her with her Battle Ballgown as looking like someone out of a Renaissance Fair. She's an expert in a wide range of fields, being a rich accomplished businesswoman who's the heiress to one of the largest family fortunes within the LLC as well as a badass on the battlefield. She is a skilled fencer who integrates her dancing skills in her fighting style. She is a Gadgeteer Genius whose creations include phasegate tech which allows her to teleport around the battlefield, and a cybernetic implant that allows her to telekinetically control four of her five rapiers. She is an expert in robotics and her knowledge in said field range from flying death machines to toy robots. She is also a Lady of Adventure Archaeologist interested in the ancient Aztanti Precursors, a field that involves not only braving many a Temple of Doom but also being an expert in ancient alien language and writing.
  • In the first BioShock, Sander Cohen, the city's foremost artist, is shown to dabble in painting, sculpture, writing, film, and theatre directing, acting, and composing. Unfortunately, "sanity" isn't on the list.
  • Dishonored has Anton Sokolov, who is the setting's equivalent of Leonardo Da Vinci. As well as being an esteemed artist (both painter and sculptor), he is an Omnidisciplinary Scientist who helped jump-start the industrial revolution of the setting and is attempting to find a cure to the plague. However, his attempts at mysticism are largely unsuccessful since The Outsider deems him too uninteresting to be worth visiting.
  • In Dwarf Fortress "Morul Cattenmat, the Most Interesting Dwarf in the World" was a project on the forums to create a dwarf who is of legendary rank, the highest in the game, in all skills, ranging from masonry and sword-fighting to flattery and fishing. The thread can be found here.
  • The fifth installment in the Elder Scrolls series, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, did away with the class system that had been present in all the previous games, meaning your character was free to maximise every single skill. In the game's early days you were still restricted by the limited amount of perk points you could gain: one per character level, with a maximum of 80 when every single skill had been maximised. Update 1.9, however, introduced Legendary Skills, which allowed you to reset a skill after maximising it while keeping the character levels and perk points gained, meaning you could now gain levels and perks indefinitely and thus, with enough work, get all 251 perks in the game, making your character a master of every single skill.
    • Of course, it was entirely possible to maximise every single skill in earlier games too. It was just easier to maximise a set of class-defined skills, as they advanced faster when you used them.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • "Inherent" abilities of the jobs in Final Fantasy V note  have to be equipped just like menu commands. That is, until you master a job completely and the character gains them permanently whether he equips them or not, as long as their job is either "Freelancer/Bare" (the "job" all your characters have at the beginning of the game) or "Mime/Mimic" (a class whose gimmick is being able to copy whatever action the previous party member took, but is otherwise identical to Freelancer; its sprite is the Freelancer sprite wearing a cape). Master all the jobs (get comfy), and you create an unstoppable killing machine that can do anything.
    • The Armoury System of Final Fantasy XIV, which allows characters to switch classes simply by equipping the appropriate weapon or tool, can easily lead to this; with enough grinding, it's possible to be a masterful warrior, mage, crafter and gatherer.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics, being another Job-based game, allows your characters to become ridiculously powerful as they unlock and gain skills in twenty or so Jobs; the PSP remake also added the job "Onion Knight", which explicitly becomes more amazing as you master more Jobs.
  • Andreas Maler from Pentiment is a very literal example — no matter what traits you pick for Andreas, he is always a skilled illustrator, as well as knowing three languages and a working knowledge of three scholarly fields ranging from law, to theology, to medicine and astronomy.
  • Hakuoro in Utawarerumono is a warrior king sort of fellow. He also has knowledge of agriculture, blacksmithing, hunting, chemistry, explosives, tactics, politics, and several other fields. Probably even more. Hell, he apparently even used to be an archaeologist before becoming a god. We don't get to really see anything he for sure can't do, apart from medicine. Which may not even count due to the different biology.
    • Haku from the sequel also falls into this category. He has knowledge of tactics, politics, cooking, mathematics, science and several other fields. Unlike Hakuoro however, he never bothers to make full use of his abilities, often doing the bare minimum due to his lazy nature.
  • The Legend of Zelda's Ganondorf, though it's not often touched upon. His skills are actually pretty diverse. Archery (assumed given its importance in Gerudo culture), swordsmanship, magic, politics, even music. He's also a master manipulator, successfully duping the King of Hyrule in Ocarina of Time.
    • Link and Zelda also have many of the same skills.
  • Atrus from the Myst games has the skills of a writer, engineer, naturalist, explorer, historian, electrician, gardener, geologist, pioneer, archeologist, metalworker, desert survivalist, and world-designer, with a side order of philosopher. If only "parent" and/or "judge of character" had also been on that list, his life would've gone a lot better.
  • Maguro, from Puyo Puyo, is a downplayed case. He's not particularly good at anything (with the exception of Kendama, which he uses for his spells), but he has a lot of hobbies, giving him a decent amount of knowledge about a wide variety of topics, such as tabletop gaming, science, computers, comedy, or puzzle solving. In one Light Novel in which every character's dreams were becoming real, it's implied Maguro dreams of being a straight version of this trope, as every time he thinks of a hobby (such as playing chess, or fishing), another Maguro, who is The Ace in said hobby, shows up.
  • The extended Resident Evil guide reveals major antagonist Albert Wesker to be this (as a result of Umbrella's attempts to create a race of superhumans later revealed in the fifth installment). According to his character files, he is proficient in the fields of science, research, observation, biology, virology, bioengineering, evolution, combat, martial arts, marksmanship, weapons, tactics, police procedure, espionage, murder, subterfuge, blackmail, opportunity, planning, persuasion, arms dealing, double-cross and even extra-sensory perception, as well as superhuman strength, speed, agility, resistance, metabolism, and vitality, due to his viral genetic mutations.
    • That, and many long nights in college studying. The guy looks in his late twenties, but he has enough degrees to take up a lifetime and then some.
  • Runescape encourages the player to become one: a big part of the game is levelling up the numerous non-combat skills, and most quests have one or multiple requirements in those skills to complete them. In order to do everything in the game, you'll have to become a good smith, cook, crafter of goods, fisher, miner, woodcutter, fletcher, construction worker, hunter, thief, herbologist, Adventurer Archaeologist and more.
  • This is doable in essentially any of The Sims games; with enough time you can take this further and turn a Sim into a Master of All.
    • One potential Lifetime Wish in The Sims 3 is "Renaissance Sim"; it requires mastering three different skills.
    • In The Sims 4, completing the "Renaissance Sim" Aspiration entails reaching level 8 in six different skills and reaching level 3 in three different jobs. This can be made easier by purchasing the "Connections" trait, which automatically starts off a Sim at level 3 of any given career, or by raising a teen with an "A" grade in high school into a young adult, which also lets them start their first career off at level 3.
  • Mario of Super Mario Bros., as seen in the page image. First and foremost he's a hero and a plumber, but he's also a doctor, racecar driver, an accomplished athlete in any number of sports, and more. There's a good chance that if you can think of something, Mario's done it at least once.
  • In Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE, Yashiro Tsurugi is said to mastered many forms of entertainment as part of being a Mirage Master. He can sing, act, dance, and write music, and exceptionally well.
  • Roberto Bianchi of Eternal Darkness is an artist and architect. And true to the trope name, his chapter takes place during The Renaissance.
  • Kazuma Kiryu of the Yakuza franchise. Who in addition to being a skull-cracking ex-Yakuza is also, just to name a few things, champion Pocket Circuit racer, skilled golf and baseball player, successful Cabaret club owner, one-time voice actor, liquor connoisseur, and expert karaoke singer.
    • The Heroes Of Tomorrow switch jobs on the daily to counter enemies, from secretaries to construction workers to hosts and idols. Oh, and protagonist Ichiban is also a CEO, Go-Kart racer, mascot, and animal wrangler, on top of all the jobs he can take during gameplay.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Cammie MacCloud of gen:LOCK is an expert coder and hacker, Dr. Weller's apprentice in pioneering the gen:LOCK Brain Uploading technology, a capable mechanical engineer with a serious eye for cool aesthetics, and swiftly developing the acrobatic and combat skills of a Holon pilot. She's also all of seventeen years old.
  • Helluva Boss: "Unhappy Campers" reveals that besides being a skilled assassin, Millie is highly adept at multiple different things: volleyball, parkour, electric guitar, banjo, singing, drums, nunchucks, and circus stunts. This makes Millie the most talented member in I.M.P.
  • Nicholas Schnee, the founder of the Schnee Dust Company in RWBY spent his youth in combat school, working alongside his father in the dust mines and used his free time to expand his knowledge of other areas. He even personally led the first expedition with the handful of men he could afford at the time.

    Web Comics 
  • Dirk Strider from Homestuck. He's skilled at robotics, puppetry, swordsmanship, intentionally So Bad, It's Good writing, computer programming, AI development, comic art, hoverboarding, rap... his excessive talents are meant to give him the appearance of a Marty Stu, but it's implied he intentionally became a Renaissance Man due to having a very fractured sense of self.
    • Horuss Zahhak's power as a Page of Void was to start out as a blank slate, allowing him to turn himself into anything he wanted. This led to him becoming very talented in many fields... until he went crazy and let a few key interests dominate his personality.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!,Molly and Golly (and presumably their sister Jolly) are superhumanly intelligent and able to become instant experts on any subject they can buzz through a textbook on. That said, Molly has a broader range of interests than Golly, who tends to be snobbish about any subject she deems childish or lowbrow. Molly is just as likely to enjoy Latin literature or quantum physics as she is a Pokémon comic book.
  • Jones, from Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, is described as a human Swiss army knife of unfinished hobbies, mostly because she's so lazy that she left most of them behind rather than bother excelling in them. She still manages to climb a significant vertical rock wall, put a crossbow bolt through Belmont's head, and prove her worth by skinning and dissecting a number of small and large woodland creatures. If she actually bothered, she might just outdo the Commander.

    Web Original 
  • Dan ''Grind'' Tracey of Academy of Superheroes has this explicitly as his superpower. He is essentially in the 99th percentile of aptitude for every skill a normal human can learn.
  • In Worm, supervillains Uber and Victor can use their powers to gain essentially any mundane skill.

    Web Videos 
  • Doctor Steel is a musician, toymaker, roboticist, graphic artist, Internet personality — and has some great dance moves.
  • Kiwami Japan is a content creator known for his creation of knives from increasingly bizarre materials (e.g. chocolate, milk, jello, saltwater, etc.), where he exhibits an advanced level of scientific knowledge, engineering, artistry and craftmanship to finish his products.
  • The Fictional Video Game in which Noob is set has a Non-Player Character named Ardacos that is used for You All Look Familiar business owners. However, Aradacos is handwaved In-Universe as New Job as the Plot Demands, which would require him to have a large set of skills that would include shopkeeping, smithing, sewing, and weapons training.

    Western Animation 
  • Larry from The Amazing World of Gumball is shown to work at almost every single store in Elmore. This includes him being a cashier, a pizza deliverer, a gas station worker, and a pet store worker.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat knows everything there is to know about everything and possesses a wide variety of skills, such as science, athletics, psychology, financial management, business management, using weapons, being a con artist, and a host of other things.
  • The Legend of Korra has several examples, fitting the series' theme of innovation, change, and new beginnings.
    • Suyin Beifong is the founder and matriarch of the metalbending city-state of Zaofu, a collector of rare meteorites, a dancer, and a stellar earthbender and metalbender, both inside and outside of combat.
    • Asami Sato runs the enormous company Future Industries, helped re-design a considerable portion of Republic City, designed the airbender squirrel suits and a flying two-person mech, can operate anything from a moped to a racecar to a biplane to a mecha-tank, and is a skilled Badass Normal martial artist. She's also twenty-two years old, post-Time Skip.
    • While he's not a fighter, Varrick is an accomplished businessman who built his corporation by himself, the creator of the film industry, a talented con-artist/schemer, and a highly accomplished scientist whose experiments include magnetic Powered Armor, maglev trains, and (by accident) a Fantastic Nuke.
  • Molly of Denali: Kenji has lots of different interests, including sled dog racing, fishing, and playing guitar.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Sunset Shimmer, Princess Celestia's former student. She's highly intelligent and very well-educated. She has good intuition and a quick wit, adjusting well to chaos and confusion. She's incredibly physically fit, able to run like the wind, throw herself horizontally like a javelin, and handle a sledgehammer like a baseball bat. She's very charismatic despite her fiery temper, a good if impetuous leader, enormously brave, and strikingly beautiful. All this made her a pretty impressive villain, coming close to conquering Equestria despite having the most limited resources and powers of any major antagonist we've seen on the show. After she turned herself around (or more specifically, after she recoiled from what her ambition had led her to, and decided to try another way of life), she's done some pretty impressive things for the forces of harmony. (She's also had both ends of the spectrum of Good Wings, Evil Wings, so there's that, too. But she's hot-headed and tends to go off half-cocked; she's not exactly self-aware or reflective; and she thinks, incorrectly, that she's really good at being sly.)
    • Twilight Sparkle, Princess Celestia's current student, is much less physical and athletic than Sunset; but she's more magically powerful; and while Sunset is well-read, Twilight's an academic-level researcher. She knows less about horse princess magic than Sunset does, but she has Magitek neurology equipment in her basement and knows quite a bit about how to use it — and she's also a very talented physicist, chemist, and historian, among other things. Her good study habits even allowed her to do quite nicely in a Ponyville marathon, despite her being a little on the chubby side. (But before she was sent to Ponyville with a specific royal order to make some friends, she was a shut-in, with no significant friendships and no particular interest in them.)
    • Pinkie Pie, the playful, perky, pink premier party planner of Ponyville, is a Renaissance Mare in her own way. She's the most social pony in Ponyville; she knows everyone's names and birthdays, and keeps detailed psychological profiles in a hidden room under her bakery; and she has all the skills she needs to support her love of parties: she's a superb baker, a good singer and musician, a good decorator and event planner, an excellent psychologist, a skilled zoologist, a talented artillerist, a brilliant mechanic, and a genius engineer. She's also the Trope Codifier for Wrong Context Magic and can travel through mirrors more conveniently than the most talented wizards of her setting.
  • Sabine Wren from Star Wars Rebels is a younger version of this. She's a Demolitions Expert, polyglot, techie, tactician, gunslinger, and artist. Later episodes reveal that she was a prodigy fast-tracked through the Imperial Academy in espionage, before she defected and became a bounty hunter where she picked up her other skills.
  • Ice Bear from We Bare Bears is shown to be a professional chef, ribbon dancer, bird talker, martial artist, the list goes on.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: Quique. He's interested in everything from circle dancing, to painting, to yoga, and juggling water balloons.
  • Xavier Riddle Andthe Secret Museum: Xavier is interested in art, robotics, dance, and basketball. He even meets THE renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci, who teaches him that he can try many different activities.

Alternative Title(s): Polymaths, Polymath, Multidisciplinary Scientist, Renaissance Men, Multidisciplinary Expert, Renaissance Woman