Florence

Marsilio Ficino and his Florentine Academy

Marsilio Ficino and his Florentine Academy

On October 19, 1433, Italian scholar and Catholic priest Marsilio Ficino was born. He was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance. With his translations and commentaries he contributed significantly to the knowledge of Plato and Platonism in his epoch and made the writings of ancient Greek-speaking authors accessible to the Latin-speaking public. His understanding of Plato, influenced by Plotin‘s Neoplatonism, became groundbreaking for the early modern…
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Pico della Mirandola and the 900 Theses

Pico della Mirandola and the 900 Theses

On February 24, 1463, Italian Renaissance philosopher Count Giovanni Pico della Mirandola was born. He is famous for, when at the age of 23, he proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy and magic against all comers, for which he wrote the famous Oration on the Dignity of Man, which has been called the “Manifesto of the Renaissance“, and a key text of Renaissance humanism and of what has…
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Not Simply a Piece of Marble – Michelangelo’s David

Not Simply a Piece of Marble – Michelangelo’s David

On September 8, 1504 Michelangelo‘s David, a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture, was unveiled in the city of Florence. The 5 metres high and 6 tons heavy marble statue depicts the Biblical hero David, right before his fight with the enormous Philistine warrior Goliath with the slingshot already on his shoulder, which is special because previous sculptures or art works, like the one’s by Andrea del Castagno or Donatello show David after the famous…
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Pietro Bembo and the Development of the Italian Language

Pietro Bembo and the Development of the Italian Language

On May 20, 1470,  Italian scholar, poet, literary theorist, member of the Knights Hospitaller and cardinal Pietro Bembo was born. Bembo was an influential figure in the development of the Italian language, specifically Tuscan, as a literary medium, codifying the language for standard modern usage. His writings assisted in the 16th-century revival of interest in the works of Petrarch. “Love can only be conquered by flight.” — Pietro Bembo Offspring of a Prestigious…
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Reckless Power Play Politics – Niccolò Machiavelli

Reckless Power Play Politics – Niccolò Machiavelli

On May 3, 1469, Florentine civil servant, diplomat, historian, philosopher and author Niccolò Machiavelli was born. Besides his seminal work ‘Il Principe‘ (The Prince) he is also known for writing comedies, carnival songs, and even poetry. “One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.” – Niccoló Machiavelli, Il Principe Born in a Tumultous Area Machiavelli was born in a tumultuous era in which popes waged acquisitive wars…
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Michelangelo Buonarotti – the Renaissance Artist

Michelangelo Buonarotti – the Renaissance Artist

On March 6, 1475, Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born. Michelangelo exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. He is considered to be the greatest living artist during his lifetime, he has since been described as one of the greatest artists of all time. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took…
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Leonardo Da Vinci – the Prototype of a Renaissance Man

Leonardo Da Vinci – the Prototype of a Renaissance Man

On May 2, 1519, Italian Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci passed away. Leonardo’s areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He has been variously called the father of paleontology, ichnology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time. Not much is known about Leonardo Da Vinci’s early life. However, it is believed…
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Girolamo Savonarola’s Bonfires of Vanity

Girolamo Savonarola’s Bonfires of Vanity

On February 7, 1497, Florentine followers of Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola burned a bonfire of vanities. Supporters of Savonarola collected and publicly burned thousands of objects such as cosmetics, art, and books in Florence, Italy, on the Mardi Gras festival. Other targets included books that were deemed to be immoral, such as works by Boccaccio, and manuscripts of secular songs, as well as artworks, including paintings of Sandro Botticelli. Fra Girolamo Savonarola…
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