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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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The Galileo Affair

The Galileo Affair

On February 13, 1633, Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome and was brought before the inquisitor Vincenzo Maculani to be charged for his defence of the Copernican theory in his writings. In the course of the trial, Galilei was found guilty and sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life. All in all, Galileo is a frequent guest in our blog. Besides his life, we have already reported about his astronomical…
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Giovanni Palestrina and the Beauty of Polyphony

Giovanni Palestrina and the Beauty of Polyphony

On February 2, 1594, Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina passed away. He is the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition and has had a lasting influence on the development of church music. His work has often been seen as the culmination of Renaissance polyphony. The Origins of Polyphony The origins of polyphony are assumed in the European vocal music of the late Medieval Era.…
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Federico Fellini – Realist of the Fantastic

Federico Fellini – Realist of the Fantastic

On January 20, 1920, Italian film director and screenwriter Federico Fellini was born. Known for his distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images with earthiness, he is recognized as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. “All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” — Federico Fellini, in The Atlantic (December 1965) Early Years Federico Fellini was the first of three children to be born…
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Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

On January 5, 1932, Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and successful novelist Umberto Eco was born. He is best known for his groundbreaking historical mystery novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. I have read ‘The Name of the Rose‘, when I was just 20 years of age, and ever since I am a…
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Giuseppe Piazzi and the Discovery of Dwarf Planet Ceres

Giuseppe Piazzi and the Discovery of Dwarf Planet Ceres

On January 1, 1801, Italian Catholic priest of the Theatine order, mathematician, and astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres, today known as the largest member of the asteroid belt. We already had several articles on almost all the planets of the Solar System, including the dwarf planets. [14] As you might know, our Solar System does not only comprise the Sun and the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Besides…
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Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Master Architect and Sculptor of the Italian Baroque

Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Master Architect and Sculptor of the Italian Baroque

On December 7, 1598, Italian architect and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini was born. He is considered to be the leading sculptor of the baroque age. In addition he designed buildings, painted, wrote plays, and designed metalwork and stage sets. Whenever you are be in Rome, for sure you will find yourself somewhere in the neighborhood of Bernini’s artwork. Family Background and Early Years Actually, not much was publicly known about the life of Gian…
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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio – Archetype of the Wicked Genius

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio – Archetype of the Wicked Genius

On September 28, 1573, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, genius Italian artist of the Renaissance was born in Milano. He was best known for his realistic paintings with a dramatic appearance of lighting. The sources of Michelangelo Merisi’s life are extensive, but not yet fully researched. His first biographer was the Sienese art lover Giulio Mancini, who was a friend of Caravaggio’s first patron, Cardinal Francesco Maria Bourbon Del Monte (1549-1627), and who…
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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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