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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 
  • Baccano!'s Huey Laforet: Brilliant scientist, ingenious inventor, intuitive sociologist, cunning entrepreneur, inspiring leader, devoted father, and excellent conversationalist.
  • 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.
  • 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 Information Broker before even turning twenty-three. Not bad for someone who never went to a single class when he was in college.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • All-Star Superman is "Superman as a renaissance man, perfect in mind, body, and intention"
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Mr. Terrific from the Justice Society of America also 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.
  • Lex Luthor. He pretty much has to be in order to be of any challenge to his nemesis.
  • Dr. Otto Octavius in The Secret Wars (1984). When the Molecule Man is badly injured and his girlfriend Volcana pleads with Dr. Octopus to do something since he's a "Doctor", Octavius replies, "I'm a nuclear physicist, not an MD!" However, Otto is also apparently a genius robotics engineer; he is credited as inventing and upgrading his robot arms. He just happened to invent the robot arms so he could better handle radioactive materials. But where or when he learned the skills to engineer his arms was never explained. And if you suggested that these accomplishments were the result of work-for-hire, he would probably pull your limbs off!
    • Notably, he appears to have taken his above inability to practice medicine as a fault to be corrected, because by the time of Superior Spider-Man, he's able to perform brain surgery to such a degree that a trained surgeon and fellow supervillain is in awe of him.
  • 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.
  • The other Dr McCoy, Beast of the 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).
  • In the DC crossover miniseries War of the Gods, the Godwave affected 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.

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Doc Savage in terms of his training took this trope Up to Eleven. In terms of his ability, he's really The Ace.
  • 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 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 (a Vonda N. McIntyre novel) 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 short story "The End of the Whole Mess" from Stephen King's Nightmares & Dreamscapes, 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
  • A rather dark version is Hannibal Lecter from Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs. He was 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.
  • 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 post-apocalyptic Victoria, 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.
  • On 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(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.
  • 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 surprisingly, 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.

  • 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!

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • 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 himself has 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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • Imhotep (c.2655-c.2600 BC), an ancient Egyptian architect, engineer, and physician. He was the first practitioner of all three of those disciplines in recorded history and is therefore the earliest known polymath. He designed the very first pyramid,note  which still stands today, almost 5,000 years later. So gifted and influential was he that, after his death, he was deified by the Egyptians—one of the very, very few commoners (possibly the only commoner) ever to receive that honor.
  • Pythagoras (c.580-c.490 BC), a Greek mathematician and philosopher of 6th century BC who founded a school in southern Italy and a philosophical system, Pythagoreanism, named after him. Pythagoras was thought to be a polymath by his contemporaries. He is sometimes credited with coining the term "philosopher", literally a "lover of wisdom," and considered among the first to follow this vocation. The Pythagorean theorem of geometry was named after him. However, having his critics killed probably helped his reviews.
  • Aristotle (384-322 BC); a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato, and teacher of Alexander the Great. He wrote on many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. He numbers among the greatest polymaths of all time.
  • Archimedes (c.287-c.212 BC); a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Lived in the Sicilian Greek town of Syracuse. Often considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, Archimedes is noted for several advancements in almost every relevant field in his era.
  • Eratosthenes (c. 276 BC–c. 195 BC) was a Greek mathematician, elegiac poet, athlete, geographer, astronomer, and music theorist. The inventor of geography, and first person to measure the circumference of the Earth, Eratosthenes was nicknamed "Beta" on the grounds that he was second-best in the world at everything.
  • Cao Cao (died 218) of Three Kingdoms fame was a skilled horseman and archer (which is typical of the nobles of his age). However, Cao was also the single most successful warlord of his era (having defeated nearly all his rivals within a space of a few years despite being much, much weaker), a noted poet (he and his sons Cao Pi and Cao Zhi are credited with the creation of an entire school of Classical Chinese poetry), a scholar (he wrote a commentary on Sun Tzu's Art of War that made it easier to understand, then distributed it to his generals for them to study), an innovator (he was the first Chinese warlord to make extensive use of cavalry as massed forces rather than skirmishers and scouts like most others did, he also implemented the use of stirrups to make his horsemen more effective) and a highly talented politician who effectively rebuilt the ruined Han Dynasty from the ground up.
  • Ibn Sina, better known to the west as Avicenna. A Persian polymath best known for revolutionizing Medicine and Philosophy was also a Mathematician, a Geographer, an Astrologist, a Poet, and a Musician.
  • Avicenna's long term pen pal Al Biruni was quite the Renaissance Man himself, most of his surviving works are on Mathematics, Philosophy, Anthropology, and History but he was also an excellent Astrologist/Engineer/Alchemist/etc
  • Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1197) was, alongside being an abbess and mystic, an essayist, pharmacologist, botanist, natural historian, dramaturgist, and codified liturgical plainchant. She also invented her own Constructed Language. She was a renaissance man before the renaissance and without being a man.
  • King Matthias I. Hunyadi (aka "Corvinus") of Hungary (circa 1443-1490). He was a Polyglot, by the age of 6 he was fluent in Latin and Greek, and in his later life learned to speak Italian, German, at least one of the Slavic languages (likely Bohemian/Czech, since his first wife was the daughter of the Bohemian king George Podjebrad) and possibly Romanian, in addition to his Hungarian mother-tongue. He was also a widely known patron of arts, and a vivid bibliophile, his famous library the "Corvina" at the time of his death contained some 2500-3000 codices, the second largest at the time, behind only the Papal library in the Vatican, and it also had a press machine. In addition, he was a skilled financial officer, who managed to create a system that provided him with a yearly income matching that of the King of France. Also a gifted politician, he easily disarmed every political opponent and conspiracy he faced. He also reformed the judicial system, which likely contributed to his quick ascension to Folk Hero status following his death, where several stories claim he roamed the lands Incognito, to spy on tyrannical lords and punish them afterwards, and help the needy, and reward the worthy. Last but not least he was a famous tourney champion, and celebrated war general. Tellingly, until the Second World War, his army was the only one to ever capture Vienna with a siege, in 1485.
  • Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is probably the codifier, though many of his inventions never came to fruition in his lifetime. He was, however, an expert in anatomy and civil engineering, skilled in many forms of artistic expression, and interested in many areas of science.
  • Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), author of 15+ works including The Prince and Discourses on Livy, was a philosopher, playwright, judge, civil servant, general, and diplomat. He was also friends with Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Matteo Ricci (1552-1610); Italian Jesuit and a phenomenal figure in the East-West scientific exchange in China. "Matteo Ricci was the perfect man of culture, a polymath versed in all things, mathematics and literature, philosophy and poetry, mechanics and astronomy." In collaboration with Xu Guangqi, he was also the first to translate classic Confucian texts into Latin and classic Western texts into Chinese (including portions of Euclid's Elements).
  • Rene Descartes (1596-1650), working in philosophy, medicine, mathematics, and physics. He wrote up the first explanation of phantom limbs, the shape and size of the rainbow - proving it was caused by water droplets, explained the ring of light sometimes seen around the moon, developed Cartesian coordinates, and proved his own existence. Also challenged anyone in Paris who would dare claim he had a bastard son to a duel (he had a daughter out of wedlock).
    • He was in a position to make good on his threat of a duel, too: in addition to the above Descartes also served as a mercenary soldier in Bavaria apparently for the fun of it and drew inspiration from his battlefield experiences.
  • Athanasius Kircher (1601/1602-1680) is another historical example, with Bunny-Ears Lawyer tendencies as well. Not only did he study geology, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs ("decoding" occult meanings that probably weren't there), astronomy and microbiology(in his time a new science), he designed a "cat piano" played by making the cats squeal in pain.
  • Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727). Thought himself a theologian first of all. Is more known for wave optics, calculus, and what is known to us as, well, "Newtonian Mechanics". Tried alchemy, astrology, and numerology. As the Master of the Mint, developed at least one currency protection measure, changed Britain's monetary policy, and personally conducted investigations.
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). Jurist, diplomat, librarian, historian, and theologian, but best known as a philosopher and mathematician. Got into a priority dispute with Newton over differential calculus, but it is his notation system that we still use today. Did pioneering work on binary numbers and worked on language theory. Helped set up the Berlin Academy of Sciences.
  • Peter Peter Alexeyevich (1672-1725). AKA Peter The Great. Along with being tsar of Russia, he studied and practiced sailing, shipbuilding, city planning, engineering, dentistry, barbering, painting, commercial trading, economics, and diplomacy.
  • Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). In addition to his studies of electricity (and the kite experiment was a minor footnote), he also developed the basic principles of meteorology, charted the gulf stream, worked on advanced heating technologies all his life, invented swim fins and a new musical instrument, expanded his one print shop to have satellite print shops in every colony, and then sold them off once he decided he was rich enough to stop working. During his business days, he established the first American lending library and the first university (UPenn) that wasn't devoted to training clergy. He also was the Colonies' ambassador to France, and despite the Declaration of Independence being a forbidden document, he ultimately talked the king into putting his own government in hock to pay off the Revolutionary War. And he's also the main reason why the Constitutional Convention included the option for passing amendments.
  • Frederick the Great (1712-1786), king of Prussia. Practically the trope namer for "enlightened absolutism" who made his country one of the great European powers and one of the leading strategists and tacticians of his day. Also a flute-player and composer, a poet, and a writer on subjects ranging from works on philosophy, history, and military theory to opera librettos and satires.
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826): Political revolutionary, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, President, architect, inventor, and horticulturalist, these are just some of Jefferson's fields of expertise, and he is considered one of the most famous polymaths in American history. Famously lampshaded by John F. Kennedy, who while hosting a dinner table full of the nation's leading intellectuals, scientists, and artists at the White House, declared "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House... with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone." Needless to say, Kennedy was clearly a big fan of Jefferson's.
  • Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), one of Europe's best swordsmen, a virtuoso violinist, composer, and soldier who led an all-black regiment during the French Revolution.
  • A claimant for the honor of "the last polymath"—albeit more on the humanities side of the spectrum—is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832). His works spanned literature, drama (Faust), science (morphology, mineralogy, and colour theory), law, philosophy (where he is considered one of the greats), and religion.
  • About the last true polymath was Thomas Young (1773 - 1829), who made fundamental contributions to physics (wave theory of light), engineering (Young's modulus), and biology (how the eye worked). Oh, and he also helped to decipher the Rosetta Stone. He has been described as "The Last Man Who Knew Everything".
  • Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (1776-1822) graduated as a jurist and entered the Prussian administration, but his real interest lay in music (which is why he changed one of his names to Amadeus, after Mozart) and he was a talented cartoonist, which got him into trouble with his superiors. After he lost his government job due to Prussia's defeat of 1807, he became musical director of a theatre in Bamberg and later of a troupe in Saxony, composing several operas, for which he also designed the sets. But it was only when he turned to writing that he achieved his worldwide fame as a master of the fantastic whose influence can be seen in the works of several writers and composers. He is also credited with writing the first German crime novella.
  • Adelbert von Chamisso (1781-1838), a French nobleman who fled from the Revolution to Prussia, became an officer, poet and novelist writing in German (his Peter Schlemihl became an international best-seller), and also an explorer, working as a cartographer and resident scientist on the second Russian circumnavigation of the world. As a botanist he was so good that he managed to discovering and naming a number of unknown plant species during a reprovisioning stop in England, a country itself well-supplied in naturalists of its own. He also wrote the first grammar of the Hawaiian language.
  • Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890): explorer, linguist, author, poet, soldier, fencer, spy, and diplomat. He explored three continents, discovered the source of the Nile, and spoke as many as 29 languages.
  • Alexander Borodin (1833-1887), a rather important chemist who discovered the Aldol reaction. However, in classical music circles, he's known for the operas, symphonies, and string quartets he created in his spare time. He was also a surgeon and later, a professor of medicine.
  • Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) was a champion skier and ice skater in his youth, before taking up Arctic exploration and breaking the record of the closest approach to the North Pole. Having done that, and come up with some innovations in Arctic clothing and equipment, he went to university to study zoology, conducted research in marine biology (during which he came up with principles that helped form the basis of neurology), and then took up oceanography, conducting important research and inventing new scientific equipment that is still in use. Apparently getting bored of that, he took up diplomatic work, helping to secure the independence of his native Norway from the King of Sweden, and after the Great War, served as High Commissioner for Refugees for the League of Nations, organizing relief efforts which earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. As if that wasn't enough, he was also an example of what happens when you combine Death Glare with a mustache.
  • Robert Williams Wood, 1868-1955. Was one of pioneers of physical optics, both research and development. Such as inventions and applications in out-of-visible spectrum photography and astronomy, spectroscopy — and animated pictures. Boomerang enthusiasm, automobile enthusiasm, and introduction of surfing in USA. Invention of a way to unfreeze plumbing and development of submarine detection by sonar. Forensics: as an explosives expert, introduction of UV lamps (detection of forgeries and the countermeasure which depreciated "invisible inks") and discovery of explosively formed projectiles. Discovery of hydrogen recombination and disproving radiation theory of greenhouses (they work because glass stops hot air). The first proposal of using tear gas as an incapacitating weapon and quack hunt, including un-discovery of N-rays (physical optics was "his" territory). Great prankster and almost Patron Saint of Education Through Pyrotechnics. When readers of How to tell the birds from the flowers asked whether he wrote another book, he gave them Physical Optics.
  • German philosopher Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) came close. His main work The Decline of the West covers these topics: History, biology, geology, economy, laws, mathematics, architecture, music, painting, other arts, linguistics, politics, religion (or at least religious history), various languages, psychology, philosophy... Not necessarily in that order. It's probably no coincidence that he was a big fan of Goethe (see above).
  • Hu Shih (1891-1962). Chinese philosopher, diplomat, political theorist. Was the Republic of China's ambassador to the US, president of Peking University, and founder of the New Culture Movement. Translated works of Daudet, Maupassant and Henrik Ibsen. Early proponent of writing in vernacular Chinese. An expert in the field of Confucianism, historiography, education theory; an innovator in Chinese poetry and was also an eminent scholar in redology, aka the study of Dream of the Red Chamber. The fact that he was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature almost comes as an afterthought.
  • Paul Robeson (1898-1976). One of the most famous actors and singers of his generation, all-American athlete, preeminent social activist, lawyer, author, and reputedly fluent in 12 languages.
  • SS-General Reinhard Heydrich (1904-1942) was a virtuoso violinist, a champion fencer, sailor, cryptographer, a brilliant spymaster, fluent in four major languages (besides German, he spoke English, French and Russian), a fighter ace pilot, a Magnificent Bastard with an accent on bastard and one of the Real Life prototypes for the Red Skull.
  • Lin Huiyin (1904-1955). As an architect, she helped to preserve Beijing's historical buildings, was involved in the design of the Chinese national flag and emblem, along with the Monument to the People's Heroes. She also translated works from English and interpreted for Tagore on his visit to China. What brought her most mainstream attention, however, were her essays and poems; and her relationship with the many leading intellectuals of the time who were floored by her talent and personality. Considered by posterity as one of the four great beauties of Republican China to boot.
  • Enoch Powell (1912-1998): Professor of Ancient Greek by age 25, poet, writer, Brigadier General, and politician.
  • Herbert Simon (1916-2001), well, look at the first paragraph of that article. He won a Nobel Prize in economics and a Turing Award, the equivalent honor in computer science.
  • Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was a Nobel-winning theoretical physicist by profession, but that didn't stop him from studying a wide variety of fields for recreational purposes: biology, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, computing, drawing, chemical engineering, music, and safecracking.
    "On the infrequent occasions when I have been called upon in a formal place to play the bongo drums, the introducer never seems to find it necessary to mention that I also do theoretical physics."
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) may have chosen a career in physics, but he was also an expert in European literature and Eastern philosophy, fluent in at least six other languages (including ancient Sanskrit), and also published poetry. He also made several contributions to various other fields related to physics, namely physical chemistry and astrophysics.
  • Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), as well as being one of the all-time great science fiction writers, also had a PhD in chemistry and from Columbia and wrote non-fiction books and essays on chemistry, mathematics, biology, physics, art (including an annotated scholarly edition of the complete works of Gilbert and Sullivan), history, religion, astronomy and robotics, among other things. His works can be found in literally every section of the Dewey decimal system apart from philosophy.
    • His expertise was such that when other science fiction writers were unsure about the science in their stories, they would give Asimov a call to make sure they were on the right track.
  • Giles Brindley (1926-) is best known for two medical discoveries: creating the first neuroprosthetic device to be successfully used to restore sight, and developing the first widely-used drug treatment for erectile dysfunction (he's quite well-known for how he presented the results—by injecting himself with the drug and...showing off). Neural engineering and urology are fairly diverse fields to be contributing to, but Brindley has also composed and published several pieces of music, invented a musical instrument (the logical bassoon), and apparently enjoys marathon running and orienteering.
  • Theodore Roosevelt, despite (or rather, in light of) his already Memetic Badass reputation and time as US President, was also at different times a cowboy, practitioner of karate, writer, historian, botanist, explorer, and soldier, among many other things. The man simply seemed to do just about everything that people in his own time saw him as not just a Renaissance Man but a god among men.
  • Andrew Jackson joins the list of Renaissance presidents with his proficiency not only as a politician but also as a soldier, lawyer, horse breeder and racer, gambler, businessman, hunter and most prominently: Frontline General and duelist. Jackson won several battles during the War of 1812 (most notably the Battle of New Orleans) despite never having any formal military training and he infamously participated in between 20 to 50 gun duels, all of which he won.
  • The American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, humorist, and mathematics professor Thomas Andrew Lehrer (1928-).
  • This is pretty much a requirement to be an astronaut. Space agencies are extremely strict and picky, so the more skills and interests you have, the better you'll look on the application. To even be considered, you need to have a degree in a STEM field (more than one is better), pass a lot of physical challenges, and have good communication and problem-solving skills. You also need a lot of flying experience to be a commander or pilot, speaking multiple languages is necessary for international space projects, and once you get accepted, you'll get cross-trained in a lot of other fields. Some examples:
    • Retired NASA astronaut Story Musgrave (1935-) is one of the most impressive examples in recent memory. Astronaut, physician, Marine, private pilot, and instructor,note  mathematician, medical professor, biophysics professor, exercise physiology researcher, and writer. His accomplishments in any one of these fields is impressive, much less all at once. Musgrave holds a doctorate in Medicine, a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Statistics, a master's degree in Computer Programming and Operational Analysis, a second bachelor's degree in Chemistry, a second master's degree in Physiology and Biophysics, and finally, a third master's degree in... Literature. As if that wasn't enough, his hobbies are chess, flying, gardening, literary criticism,note  poetry, microcomputers, parachuting, photography, reading, running, scuba diving, and soaring.
    • Jonny Kim. Mathematician, Harvard-educated doctor, astronaut, and former Navy SEAL.
  • A more modern, albeit somewhat debatable example: Dieter Meier (1945-). He was a key member of the influential electronica band Yello (whose first album was described as the "most varied and accomplished of any synth pop debut" by Allmusic). Also, Dieter Meier is known for being a quite successful conceptual artist and performance artist. In his spare time, he's a millionaire industrialist and award-winning director. Sometimes, he also designs scarves and creates restaurants. To top it off, he was once a member of the Swiss national golf team. So, a bit impressive.
  • Bruce Dickinson (1958-) Iconic metal singer-songwriter, historian, pilot, fencer, screenwriter, author, director, brewer, radio host, entrepreneur...
  • The expectations of the Renaissance man were often different from what a Renaissance woman was supposed to accomplish during those times. Usually a Renaissance women's crafts and skills came from her job as a homeworker (weaving, sewing, taking care of children) than from any outside activity.
  • At some point or another in the past thirty years, Shigesato Itoi has dabbled in pretty much every form of media imaginable and an innumerable number of other projects. Though definitely not sufficiently versed in science, he's even published a book of interviews about neurology. He has also taken up work as a copywriter (a professional Catchphrase writer for companies), run a website that has been updated without fail for over fifteen years, and developed a highly popular series of RPGs.
  • Daisuke Ishiwatari is a writer, illustrator, programmer, occasional voice actor, tea aficionado, and heavy metal rockstar. He is most well-known for creating Guilty Gear, a series of fighting games that he contributed to in one way or another throughout its entire life, most typically as the series' musical director, as well as his contributions to the soundtrack of the series' Spiritual Successor, BlazBlue.
  • David Byrne of Talking Heads: Guitarist, Singer, Composer, Producer, Actor, Director, Screenwriter, etc.
  • One of, if not the greatest heroes of the Golden Era of Aviation, now almost forgotten, was herr Hugo Eckener. Herr Eckener started off as a skeptical reporter in turn-of-the-century Germany, who was tasked with writing a story about some enthusiastic crackpot's new invention. Hugo was initially unimpressed with this invention of Count Zeppelin, but as he talked with the energetic old Count he began to see the machine's hidden potential. He quickly became Zeppelin's protégé, and after his death, his successor. Hugo went on to become an editor, a doctor of psychology, aircraft engineer, airship captain, world-famous explorer and de facto German diplomat, politician(and eventually political rival to an unsavory extremist politician named Adolf Hitler), and president of the Zeppelin Company, which survives today, in spite of an unfortunate accident that marred its otherwise-flawless safety record.
  • Viggo Mortensen: actor, writer, painter, poet, polyglot, and if his co-stars are to be believed, Cloud Cuckoolander. Elijah Wood has said that he's a brilliant man with a lot of talent and integrity, who also happens to be completely insane.
  • The famous Italian man of romance Casanova (so famous that his name lives on even to this day) was a hard-working expert in many, many trades, from librarian to soldier, on top of being the archetypal lady-killer.
  • In medieval Europe, a minstrel was expected to be skilled in all forms of entertainment.
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson is a dancer (he won a gold medal in an International Latin Ballroom competition), a wrestler, a collector of fine wines, Disneyana, and comic books, a fan of science fiction, a television host of some acclaim, and a model rocketeer. Oh, and sometimes he fiddles around with astrophysics.
  • Ted Turner (1938-) started out running a billboard business left by his father, then started investing in TV stations. When he saw how HBO had gone to satellite transmission for cable companies (enabling them to broadcast coast-to-coast), he followed their way and put his small indie TV station in Atlanta on the satellite for people's consumption. A few years later, he started the very first 24-hour news network. Then he used all the money he had to buy the Atlanta Braves and Hawks, became a sailing champion, acquired the library of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer pre-1986 (having bought MGM off, then sold it back to, Kirk Kerkorian after 74 days), operated a wrestling promotion, started his own non-political Olympics-style competition dubbed the Goodwill Games, buy Hanna-Barbera, Castle Rock Entertainment and New Line Cinema, start more networks (including the first all-animation channel and an all-classic film network), create a cartoon designed to get kids to help the environment, finance an Epic Movie about the Battle of Gettysburg (and its' prequel), and since leaving his companies (having merged with TimeWarner, then fled after the botched AOL deal), he's devoted his life to, amongst other things, being a staunch supporter of the United Nations, being a massive conservationist (especially of bison), and continuing to try and make the world better. Oh, and he was also married to Jane Fonda.
    • To a lesser extent, one of his former employees, CNN Headline News anchor Lynne Russell was, aside from her anchoring duties, a deputy sheriff in Fulton County, a private investigator, held two black belts in Choi Kwang Do, and ran a business involving making lampshades.
  • Jesse Ventura has been a professional wrestler, actor, Navy SEAL, writer, TV show host, and politician.
  • Johnny Micheal Spann (1969-2001): A CIA paramilitary officer and the first American killed in the War in Afghanistan. Prior to joining the CIA, Mr. Spann was an officer in the United States Marine Corps, serving in the highly elite 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company. He also earned his private pilot license when he was only 17. He was also a certified rescue diver and parachutist.
  • Masi Oka (1974-) is best known as an actor. He's also a stand-up comedian, director, and special effects programmer, being known as "the guy who let Star Wars SFX artists blow things up without blowing up their own computers". He speaks English, Japanese, Spanish, and German, and says he likes using both the left and right halves of his brain. Having an Improbably High I.Q. of 180 probably helps.
    • He's also known as being a sweetheart and a humble man who's full of charm by celebrity gossip-hounds, meaning his Emotional Quotient (EQ) is probably also "improbably high".
  • is well known as a singer, songwriter, composer, and producer... but outside the world of music, he's a poet, a film director, a clothing designer, a choreographer, and a painter. He also has designed his own lines of sports cars, sunglasses, dishware, and silverware. He also dabbles in acting. He also left music to take up programming and advocates the teaching of programming in schools.
  • The quintessential scholar-gentleman of ancient and medieval China was supposed to be proficient at painting, calligraphy, poetry, philosophy, aesthetics, architecture, alchemy, and general knowledge. The exception to all of this was ability at physical combat - it was considered ill-fitting for a Confucian gentleman to resort to violence, as the idea was that a complete and perfect person would be so intelligent and cultivated, people would just follow their lead by default. Zhuge Liang, as listed in the Red Cliff example above, was one real-life example.
  • The King of Thailand, King Bhumibol, also known as King Rama IX, (1927-2016) was certainly a modern Renaissance Man. Besides being a King, King Bhumibol was a musician (jazz musician, favoring the sax, and was in an honest-to-goodness band even after he became King), a composer, a photographer, a painter, an engineer, a sailor (won several awards and even designed boats), and held several patents (in rainmaking and for a waste water aerator). He spoke several languages (English, French, German, and Thai), and had spent time as a translator. Like many Thai men, he also spent time as a Buddhist monk.
  • God of Manga Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989) was a trained physician, extremely prolific comic author, animator, and director of cartoons and even made some live-action films. The fact that he sacrificed a career as a medical doctor to become a comic author still seems outrageous today.
  • Italian cognitive scientist Piero Scaruffi (born 1955) is an author, poet, cultural historian, music historian, film historian, political commentator, visual artist, lecturer, software consultant, and entrepreneur, according to his website. Among internet users, however, he is mostly known for his controversial essay on The Beatles.
  • Doug TenNapel (born 1966) has done work as a video game maker, comic artist (both print and web), animator, live-action director, and illustrator, and is also a musical dilettante. He laments in The Rant for one Ratfist strip that this means that he hasn't been able to retain many cross-IP fans over the years; fans of Earthworm Jim or Catscratch aren't automatically going to know about Ratfist.
    TenNapel: "Let this be a lesson for you, obsess narrowly on one thing. Obsessing on plumbing would be a good idea."
  • Dexter Holland, frontman of The Offspring, was his high school valedictorian (he got his "Dexter" nickname because he was a huge science nerd), originally studied molecular biology before switching to a full-time musician (and he later returned to his studies). He is also a registered airline pilot and runs a hot sauce company.
  • Brian May of Queen. Everybody knows he built his main instrument, the Red Special, with his dad and that he's an extraordinary guitarist and songwriter, but there's a lot more than that: he's an excellent singer, a very good pianist, a capable bassist, an occasional performer of other instruments (harp, ukelele, banjolele, koto, organ...), a successful record producer, an animal activist, a graduated Ph.D. in astrophysics, a former maths teacher, a stereo photographer, a former chancellor of the University of Liverpool and an author.
  • Despite the statement at the beginning of this page, one can say, with some justification, that nearly everyone who is proficient at many things, but not overtly specialized in any one, is one of these. They just never quite show their potential. Of course, whether one believes this (or not) is largely based upon one's outlook on the World.
  • Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal Alonzo y Realonda , the national hero of the Philippines had many skills here's a list of them :
  • The legendary Steve Martin is much more than a comedian. He's a stand-up comic, an actor of comedy and drama, a writer/novelist/playwright whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, a singer, a Grammy-winning bluegrass musician, an awards-show host, a prominent art collector, and has a degree in philosophy.
  • Jason Gastrow, aka Dunkey is a comedian who writes, edits, and performs in his own videos, a prominent You-Tuber, an accomplished gamer, a rapper with his own album, a street dancer, exercise trainer, nature enthusiast, prank caller, philosopher, karaoke star and Admiral Akbar.
  • Ub Iwerks, best known today as the designer and co-creator of Mickey Mouse, was a pioneering animator (animating the first Mickey short, Plane Crazy, single-handedly in two weeks!), director, Oscar-winning special-effects designer, technician, inventor, athlete, machinist, mechanic, archer, and a studio-head - and this doesn't even scratch the surface to what he could do!
  • In his 84 years on this Earth, Mr. Geoffrey Holder (1930-2014), best known for his performances as Baron Samedi in Live and Let Die, and Punjab in Annie (1982), was a stage-and-screen actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, composer, painter, author, voice-over artist, spokesman for 7Up, and won Tony Awards as a stage director and costume designer.
  • Luciano De Crescenzo was a writer, film actor, director, engineer, essayist, philosopher, and dancer.
  • Peter Ustinov (1921-2004) was an Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy-winning, Tony-nominated actor, writer (for print, screen, and stage, garnering Oscar and Tony noms for these), film/theatre/opera director, improv comedian, humorist, newspaper columnist, stage and costume designer, radio broadcaster, television presenter, car enthusiast, intellectual, diplomat, Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, President of the World Federalist Movement, spoke 6 languages fluently (and was proficient in 2 others) and was beloved throughout his entire life in all his respected fields.
  • Neil Cicierega: filmmaker, actor, writer, musician, composer, singer, songwriter, animator, cartoonist, inventor of the Animutation, and researcher of all things surreal and obscure. Oh, and he also did some stuff with puppets or something.
  • Donald Glover is one of the more recent examples, as he is an actor, writer, director, and musician. You may know him for his show Atlanta (where he plays Earnest), his work with Derrick Comedy back in the old days, his role as Troy on Community, and/or his musical alter-ego, Childish Gambino. Even within music, Donald was able to transition from rap to funk for his latest album Awaken, My Love. He also had a stand-up comedy special, Weirdo, before going more toward TV and music.
  • Danny Kaye was a talented comedian, and his most famous roles are in screw-ball comedies. However, he was also a skilled dramatic actor, a fantastic dancer, a brilliant singer, a master chef, a master swordsman, a writer, director, producer, and the head of his own film studio at one point...pretty much anything he wanted or needed to learn how to do, he did so, and with gusto.
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda is another recent example, being an actor, dancer, writer, singer, songwriter, and rapper. His career began with smash Broadway hit In the Heights, which he wrote and songwrote while at college and refined until it opened on Broadway in 2007 with him in the lead role. He followed it up with Hamilton, for which he also wrote, songwrote, and starred in as the eponymous founding father. Since then, he has guest-starred in numerous TV shows, written the music for Moana, and solidified his big-screen acting career with Mary Poppins Returns. He is also on track to be one of the few people to win a PEGOT (Pulitzer, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony - he's only missing the Oscar).
  • Harry Connick, Jr. Louisiana-born Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, pianist, conductor, composer, big band leader, and actor on the silver screen, on television and on Broadway. He's also dabbled in reality TV, including spending a few seasons judging American Idol and, as of 2016, hosting a talk show. He's best known as a musician when he isn't busy being known for any of the other skills in his repertoire.
  • Jim Henson, aside from being the creator of The Muppets, he was puppeteer, Oscar-nominated director, Emmy-winning writer, Grammy-winning producer, improv comedian, musician, advertising creator, singer, cartoonist, comedy writer, experimental filmmaker, actor, businessman, illustrator, animator, fantasy creator, innovator in special effects and, by most accounts, a real Nice Guy.
  • Jamie Foxx is mainly known for being a comedian and actor, but he also has several hit albums and majored in classical music and composition in college (in fact his early stand-up specials have him working piano and singing into the act).
  • Butch Hartman is a screenwriter, producer, animator/director, and voice actor who's created several popular cartoons during his time with Nickelodeon. He also likes to keep himself busy with other projects like being a comic book author, painter, cartoonist, vlogger/YouTube personality, composer, stand-up comedian, podcast host, developer of the children's app "The Noog Network", acting in a few live-action shows along with serving as a reference actor for Disney's Pocahontas in the 90's, serving as the US script editor for another animated feature in the 2000's note , established his own production company and non-profit organization, and currently developing a new family streaming service called Oaxis Entertainment. Hartman's friend Fred Seibert even asked on a Nick podcast: "Does this man even sleep?!"
  • Fred Seibert himself can qualify as this. He's an animation producer, a blogger, a record producer and sound engineer during his youth, the creator of several animated anthologies and live-action content for television, A creative consultant for the first kids-oriented channel in the early 90's, the creator of the popular MTV campaign: "I Want My MTV" during his time as the channel's head of advertising, one of the first investors for web media along with one of the most popular multimedia websites on the net, a businessman who served as the president for one of television's most influential animation studios before starting his own influential studio, and is also credited for creating the TV marathon and for re-establishing creator driven content in the animation industry.
  • Ward Kimball is best known as one of Disney's Nine Old Men but was also an Oscar-winning animator, director of live-action and animation, gagman, screenwriter, illustrator, painter (ranging from realistic to abstract), jazz bandleader, trombone player, Imagineer, gag cartoonist, photographer, railroad historian/engineer, automotive historian, television host, collector of Americana and socialite, with friends like Louis Armstrong, Salvador Dalí, and Robert Crumb.
  • New York businessman Larry Schwarz started his career as a child actor and comedian before starting two of his own production companies; one of which produced a cult classic Nickelodeon animated series along with a number of other animated and live-action shows produced and created by Larry for other networks. He's also a licensed lawyer, former magazine publisher, a professional lecturer for several universities, a web animation pioneer for AOL, the U.S. distributor for a popular Taiwanese puppet action show, one of the first racers for the popular Gumball 3000 motor rally, and a former toy company CEO where he developed his own original toy ideas and served as a developer behind several web browser games; along with becoming the youngest board member of "the Directors of the Toy Manufacturers of America".
  • Haim Saban started his career in the music industry as a singer/songwriter, bass player, record producer, band manager, and composer for several popular kids shows note  in the '80s before creating a highly popular kids show of his own. Aside from writing and producing for television, he's also a film distributor and businessman credited with establishing two successful production companies while also investing in real estate and occasionally other companies. He's also a philanthropist, bilingual in English and Hebrew, a board of Regents member for the University of California, a political adviser for the White House during the Clinton Era, and is also a staunch activist for Israel and the current sponsor for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
  • VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer is a filmmaker, singer/songwriter, animator, voice actor, puppeteer, author, podcast host, and biblical expert. He's also the co-founder of Big Idea Entertainment and the Christian streaming service JellyTelly.
  • Black Flag front man Henry Rollins has done a variety of occupations throughout his life such as being a singer/songwriter, record producer, radio and TV host, author, journalist, publisher, actor, activist, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, blogger, and comedian.
  • Walt Disney was quite eccentric and held a number of positions during his life. He was an animator, voice actor, inventor, cartoonist, record producer/publisher, live-action producer for film and television, philanthropist, TV host, theme park developer, the founder of a highly influential media company, and was the creator of one of the most recognizable cartoon characters of all time. He was also a consultant for the American National Exhibition in Moscow, a chairman for the 1960 Winter Olympics' pageantry committee, the co-founder of the California Institute of the Arts, and the co-founder of Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals which sought to protect the film industry from Communism during the Cold War.
  • The father of modern fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien; he was a famous novelist creating the seminal work of fantasy that most others draw inspiration off of, and that was just something he did for his hobby. Other hobbies include producing translations of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and drawing his own detailed landscapes and maps of Middle-Earth. He professionally worked as the Professor of English Language and Literature at Merton College in Oxford. He was a very skilled linguist speaking 13 languages and creating several of his own, and he created his own world of Middle-Earth with a complex history that he never even intended anyone to read. His work shows him as a proficient writer, a competent geographer, excellent historian and mythographer, a pretty skilled artist, and even an amateur astrologer.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is most well-known as an actor, but is also a great businessman: he was already a millionaire due to real estate and small business investments he had started up long before he had a career in Hollywood, and he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing from the University of Wisconsin. On top of being an actor and businessman he was a rather successful politician as governor of California, a notable writer,note  and, of course, one of the most influential bodybuilders of all time.
  • When Robert Rodriguez isn't in the director's chair, he's also a screenwriter, producer, editor, cinematographer, makeup and special effects artist, composer, sound mixer, film teacher, author, chef, weapons expert, TV host, record producer, guitarist and vocalist for the band Chingon, and occasional actor. He also operates his own production company and television network, fluent in both English and Spanish, and dabbled as a cartoonist and animator during college with his comic strip Los Hooligans. Did we also mention he's a father of five?
  • Frank Zappa is best known as the singer-songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist for The Mothers of Invention. He also wrote and directed his own movie, done occasional acting roles, produced one of the first Outsider Music albums with Wild Man Fischer, dabbled as a comedian with his music, was a major activist for free speech and the legalization for Marijuana, and was quite knowledgeable in mixing chemical explosives.
  • Andy Warhol was a painter, cartoonist, photographer, sculptor, fashion designer, part-time model, author, media personality, cinematographer, film and record producer, filmmaker, band manager for The Velvet Underground, and host for one of the first reality TV shows. He also coined the terms "Superstar" and "15 Minutes of Fame", became one of the first to create digital art using an Amiga computer, and was by all accounts a strange and bizarre person.
  • Lindsey Stirling is a violinist, composer, singer-songwriter, dancer (she won second place on Dancing With the Stars), and author (she cowrote her autobiography and a comic book series for her 5th album) who designs and edits her own music videos, creative directs her concerts, and makes the majority of her and her dancer's costumes. She also has a podcast called String Sessions and is working on a Broadway musical.
  • Former world heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, in addition to being one of the greatest heavyweight boxers ever, is also a champion kickboxer, a doctor of sports science with a PhD from Kiev's Shevchenko University, and the Mayor of Kiev and leader of a major Ukrainian political party. Oh, and he's quadrilingual.note 
  • Takeshi Kitano, a.k.a. Beat Takeshi: comedian, singer, film director, actor, painter, author, screenwriter, poet, (okay, what wasn't this guy?) and one-time video game designer. And boy what a game it was. To quote JonTron:
    Jon: One time, 'cause one time is all he needed. After that, the sea floor split open and swallowed the Caribbean! Earthquakes ravaged the west coast of America! And goblins were still really, really scary! Ew! I don't like 'em! I don't like goblins! UAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
  • Besides his extensive work in voice acting, Jason Spisak is also a noted Linux contributor and open-source advocate, having been the co-leader of the Symphony OS distribution and wrote the Laws of Interface Design which his project adhered to.
  • Herman van Veen (born in The Netherlands) is a very talented performer in both The Netherlands and Germany. For the past 52 years, he's created tons of songs and albums for children and adults, made children's books, created a theatrical show in the '70s (which later became a comic book series, which spawned an animated series, which gained two spinoff theatrical shows), and a civil rights activist during the Apartheid and a huge admirer of Nelson Mandella. note  He's also able to fully speak Dutch and German for both countries. One live performance from 1986, of the song "Hilversum III" had him perform in both Dutch and German.
  • John Cena certainly qualifies. A pro wrestler, rapper, actor, and philanthropist. He learned fluent Mandarin and even taught himself to play piano. Legal Eagle even addresses Cena as a "professional wrestler and Renaissance Man" in one of his videos.
  • Jacques Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, underwater diver, oceanographer, marine biologist, conservationist, inventor, engineer, polyglot, author, photographer, and filmmaker.
  • William Herschel. Originally a classical composer and musician who played four different instruments (oboe, violin, harpsichord, and organ), his music led to an interest in mathematics, which led him to astronomy and physics, which led to his most famous discoveries: the planet Uranus and infrared radiation. He spoke English as well as his native German, knew enough engineering to build huge telescopes, and even dabbled in biology (he discovered that coral is an animal).
  • This is the point of Liberal Arts education, while much of modern society can be accredited to scientists and students who devote themselves to their field, the liberal art student is often trained as an effective bridge.
    • This is interestingly best seen in business fields. Business majors rarely making their careers off their direct study focus, as this would essentially be the day traders. However most of the corporate world is built off the back of other trades, and it is the role of bureaucrats to allow the trades to operate themselves. Having a basic knowledge in other fields helps to facilitate communication, and while they need to defer to trade knowledge they also need to be able to help translate between other fields.
  • Midge Ure certainly qualifies. He's a songwriternote , guitarist, keyboardistnote , singer, producernote , music video directornote , and supergroup organisernote . No wonder so many New Wave devotees tout him as a fucking genius. And he (used to be, anyway) very good-looking, causing many teenage girls to squeal, even though his projects like Ultravox are the anti-thesis of teeny pop.
  • Albert Einstein, the father of modern physics, was also a patent clerk, statesman, philosopher, and amateur violinist.
  • Sun Yat-sen, father of modern China, was a statesmen, revolutionary, philosopher and a physician.
  • George "Joji" Miller is a successful lo-fi Alternative R&B singer, songwriter, and producer and, as seen on his old YouTube series Filthy Frank, a cult-favorite comedic writer, video editor, and actor. He is also an adept rapper, beatboxer, and breakdancer.

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