Renaissance

Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

On September 8, 1474, Italian Renaissance poet Ludovico Ariosto was born. He is best known for his romance epic Orlando Furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando), which describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens.[4] “Of ladies, knights, of passions and of wars, of courtliness, and of valiant deeds I sing.” – Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, Canto I, stanza 1 (1532) Ariosto – Early Years Ariosto was the…
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The Virgin Queen – Elizabeth I.

The Virgin Queen – Elizabeth I.

On September 7, 1533, queen regnant of England and Ireland Elizabeth I was born. Also referred to as the ‘Virgin Queen’, the daughter of Henry VIII was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. Elizabeth‘s reign is known as the Elizabethan era, famous above all for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare, and for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Sir Francis…
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Titian – the Sun Amidst Small Stars

Titian – the Sun Amidst Small Stars

On August 27, 1576, Italian painter Tiziano Vecelli, better known as Titian, passed away. The most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school, he was recognized by his contemporaries as “The Sun Amidst Small Stars“. Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of colour, would exercise a profound influence…
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The Gutenberg Bible and the Printing Revolution

The Gutenberg Bible and the Printing Revolution

On August 24 (August 15, O.S.), 1456, the printing of the famous Gutenberg Bible was completed.[10] The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed with movable type in the West, applying the newly developed technology by Johannes Gutenberg. Widely praised for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities, the book has an iconic status. The Man of the Millenium We know that German blacksmith, goldsmith, inventor, printer, and publisher Johannes Gutenberg did not…
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Nikolaus of Cusa and the Learned Ignorance

Nikolaus of Cusa and the Learned Ignorance

On August 11, 1464, German philosopher, theologian, jurist, and astronomer Nikolaus of Cusa (in latin: Nicolaus Cusanus) passed away. He is considered as one of the first German proponents of Renaissance humanism. His best known work is entiteled ‘De Docta Ignorantia‘ (Of the Learned Ignorance), where also most of his mathematical ideas were developed, as e.g. the trial of squaring the circle or calculating the circumference of a circle from its radius. “In…
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Giorgio Vasari and his Foundations of Art-Historical Writing

Giorgio Vasari and his Foundations of Art-Historical Writing

On July 30, 1511, Italian Renaissance painter, architect, writer and historian Giorgio Vasari was born. He is best known today for his Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing. One of the Lesser Known Renaissance Artists From all the great Renaissance artist, Giorgio Vasari might be one of the lesser known. The reason for this might be that although an artist of considerable…
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Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

On July 20, 1304, Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) was born. He is considered to be one of the earliest humanists and also the “father of the Renaissance.” Petrarch’s sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the “Dark Ages”. “I rejoiced in my progress, mourned my weaknesses, and…
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John Dee and his World of Science and Magic

John Dee and his World of Science and Magic

On July 13, 1527, Welsh mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I, John Dee was born. He is considered one of the most learned men of his age. Besides being an ardent promoter of mathematics and a respected astronomer, in his later years he immersed himself in the worlds of magic, astrology and Hermetic philosophy. One of his aims was attempting to commune with angels in order to…
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Lucrezia Borgia – Femme Fatale or Political Tool?

Lucrezia Borgia – Femme Fatale or Political Tool?

On June 24, 1519, Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI, and Vannozza dei Cattanei, passed away. Lucrezia’s family later came to epitomize the ruthless Machiavellian politics and sexual corruption alleged to be characteristic of the Renaissance Papacy. Lucrezia was cast as a femme fatale, a role she has been portrayed as in many artworks, novels, and films. The extent of her complicity in the political machinations of her family is…
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Bartolomeo Platina and the Vatican Library

Bartolomeo Platina and the Vatican Library

On June 15, 1475, Pope Sixtus IV issued the papal bull ‘Ad decorem militantis Ecclesiae‘ in which he regulated the complex structure of the newly founded Vatican Apostolic Library and appointed Renaissance author Bartolomeo Platina as its first head librarian. For sure you will heave heard about the famous Vatican Library and even more about the Vatican Secret Archives, which are part of the library. Even in popular culture such as Dan…
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