Renaissance

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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Girard Desargues and Projective Geometry

Girard Desargues and Projective Geometry

On February 21, 1591, French mathematician and engineer Girard Desargues was born. Desargues is considered one of the founders of projective geometry. Desargues‘ theorem, the Desargues graph, and the crater Desargues on the Moon are named in his honour. In his later years, he designed an elaborate spiral staircase, and an ingenious new form of pump, but the most important of Desargues‘ interests was Geometry. He invented a new, non-Greek way of…
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Nikolaus Copernicus and the Heliocentric Model

Nikolaus Copernicus and the Heliocentric Model

On February 19, 1473, Renaissance mathematician and astronomer Nikolaus Copernicus was born, who established the heliocentric model, which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center of the universe. With the publication of his research he started the so-called Copernican Recolution, which started a paradigm shift away from the former Ptolemaic model of the heavens, which postulated the Earth at the center of the universe, towards the heliocentric model with the…
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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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Thomas Gresham and the London Royal Exchange

Thomas Gresham and the London Royal Exchange

On January 23, 1571, the Royal Exchange in London was founded by the merchant Thomas Gresham to act as a centre of commerce for the City of London. The Protagonists On the afternoon of January 23rd, 1571, Queen Elizabeth [8] went from her Palace of Somerset House to dine with Sir Thomas Gresham at his fine mansion in Austin Friars. She went in state with her Trumpeters and Halberdiers, with Sir Thomas Gresham…
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The Rediscovery of Laocoön and His Sons

The Rediscovery of Laocoön and His Sons

On January 14, 1506, Felice de Fredis rediscovered the statue of Laocoön and his Sons in his vineyards close to the ruins of Emperor Nero‘s Golden House palace on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. The discovery of the Laocoön made a great impression on Italian artists and continued to influence Italian art into the Baroque period. The Myth of Laocoön and the Greek Sculpture Laocoön was a Trojan priest of Poseidon. The story of…
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Vasco da Gama and the Route to India

Vasco da Gama and the Route to India

On December 24, 1524, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira, passed away. He was one of the most successful explorers in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India. Background Vasco da Gama was born into a family of noblemen, his father belonged to the Order of Santiago and was occupied with several administrative tasks. Little is known about…
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Tycho Brahe – The Man with the Golden Nose

Tycho Brahe – The Man with the Golden Nose

On December 14, 1546, Danish nobleman and astronomer Tycho Brahe, known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations was born. “Non haberi, sed esse.” “Not shine, but be.” – Tycho Brahe’s Election slogan Background Tycho Brahe was born at Knutstorp Castle, Scania, at that time Denmark, into a politically powerful family of noblemen and political advisors. He grew up with his uncle, also a nobleman, who supplied his nephew with a…
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Lope de Vega and the Spanish Golden Age of Literature

Lope de Vega and the Spanish Golden Age of Literature

On November 25, 1562, Spanish poet Lope de Vega, or with full name Félix Lope de Vega Carpio, one of the key figures in the Spanish ‘Siglo de Oro’, the Golden Century Baroque literature, was born. His reputation in the world of Spanish literature is second only to that of Miguel de Cervantes, while the sheer volume of his literary output is unequalled, making him one of the most prolific authors in the…
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