The Renaissance Times

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After Lorenzo de Medici’s death in 1492, Botticelli gave up painting, abandoned his humanist studies, and became a hardcore fundamentalist Christian. As did a lot of Florentines. The reason? They all fell under the spell of the original fire and brimstone preacher. He wasn’t rich. He didn’t have an army. He wasn’t of the nobility. He wasn’t sent by the pope. In fact, the Pope hated him. But he managed to do what so many rich men with armies had failed to do for decades. He overturned the government of Florence, kicked out the Medici family, and took control of the city. And… to top it off, he was a precursor of the Reformation. He is famous for the Bonfire Of The Vanities. His name was Girolamo SAVONAROLA. Oh dear! This page contains Member's Only content... and you aren't logged in! Sucks to be you, seriously, because the content you are missing is really funny. And clever. And probably very, very sexy. So sign up now and your life will be improved substantially. The post #94 – Savonarola Part 1 appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
During Lorenzo de Medici’s life, no fewer than three of the outstanding artists of the Renaissance are thought to have spent at least a brief formative period of their early lives in the Palazzo Medici: Leonardo and Michelangelo and the one we’re going to talk about for the next few episodes – the great Sandro Botticelli. Oh dear! This page contains Member's Only content... and you aren't logged in! Sucks to be you, seriously, because the content you are missing is really funny. And clever. And probably very, very sexy. So sign up now and your life will be improved substantially. The post #89 – Sandro Botticelli appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
This episode starts with a correction about the skin colour of the Moors, brought to you by our Moroccan listener Mohamed. Then, to set the scene for this episode, we have a special song – “The Alhambra Decree” by legendary contemporary folk singer-songwriter David Rovics. Crazy coincidence – I’ve been a fan of David’s work for 15 years and have been on his mailing list forever. And the same week I happened to be preparing this episode, I saw his latest email that contained this song. So I reached out and he was nice enough to give me permission to use this track. So what was the Alhambra Decree? It was the 1492 decision, by Isabella and Ferdinand, after they concluded their war with the last remaining Muslim region of Granada, that all of the Jews were to be banished from Spain. But did they really want to banish them? Or just give them an added incentive to convert to Christianity? And why would anyone want to convert to Christianity after the hell the Inquisition had just put the conversos through? Some gave in under pressure and converted – some stuck to their guns and migrated to Portugal, whose King promised them refuge. Which was great – until the King of Portugal decided he wanted to marry the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand. The post #87 – The Alhambra Decree appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
In 1184, Pope Lucius III issued a papal bull, Ad Abolendam, to combat the Albigensian heresy in southern France. They were known as Cathars, or Good Christians. They were going around doing horrible anti-Christian things – like saying killing was bad, being vegetarian and treating women as equals was good, and that the church was too rich. The Pope decided they had to be stopped. How? In the words of the army commander he sent to them: ‘Kill them all. God will recognise his own.’ The post #82 – The Cathars appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
In the aftermath of the Pazzi Conspiracy, Florence found itself excommunicated en masse by Pope Sixtus IV unless they handed over Lorenzo De Medici. When the city refused, Pope Sixtus went to war. 1479 drawing by Leonardo da Vinci of hanged Pazzi conspirator Bernardo Bandini dei Baroncelli   The post #79 – The Papal War appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Two days after the death of Piero de’ Medici in December 1469, his eldest son, Lorenzo de’ Medici, aka Larry The Med, became the new ruler of Florence. He was 20 years old. He was a major patron of the Renaissance and the father of the future Pope Leo X. The post #76 – Larry The Med appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #75 – The Artist Who Stole A Nun appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #74 – The Pitti Party appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #73 – Piero de Medici appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #72 – Duke Filippo Maria Visconti appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #71 – The Greek Invasion appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #70 – Gutenberg Part 6 appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #69 – Gutenberg Part 5 appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #68 – Gutenberg Part 4 appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #67 – Gutenberg Part 3 appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #66 – Gutenberg Part 2 appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #65 – Gutenberg Part 1 appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born 1401 as Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, “Masaccio” (his nickname) was regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, he was the best painter of his generation. The first painter in the Renaissance who really understood linear perspective. He died age only 26, in 1428. “Masaccio,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “showed by perfect works that those who are led by any guide except Nature, the supreme mistress, are consumed in sterile toil.” His masterpiece was the Holy Trinity fresco in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The post #64 – Masaccio appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Born Guido di Pietro but known to us as Fra Angelico which means the “Angelic friar”. Despite his early talent for painting, at age 12 he entered the Dominican order and spent the rest of his life in convents, painting their walls. Admired by Cosimo de Medici and extremely influential to the early Renaissance artists, he was one of the first to start to incorporate linear perspective. We also talk about Pope Nicholas V, the first humanist Pope. Born into relative poverty, he spent most of his adult life in Florence as an assistant to an Archbishop and a Pope, while hanging around with the humanists, until his surprise election to the top job. He decided to Make Rome Great Again, by bringing as many of the top scribes, translators, architects, painters and sculptors to work for him as he could ge this hands on – including Fra Angelico and Leon Battista Alberti. He’s also the guy who created the vision for the modern Vatican Palace and the Vatican Library. The post #63 – Fra Angelico & Pope Nicholas V appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
The first written work of art theory, produced during the Renaissance was “De Pictura”, or “On Painting”, written in 1435 by Leon Battista Alberti but not published until 1450, in which he explained the science behind linear perspective. He was a humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher, mathematician and cryptographer. He also wrote the first autobiography since St Augustine. A true polymath and the first Renaissance Man, who inspired every Renaissance artist who followed him. The post #62 The First Renaissance Man appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
After returning to Rome to work for the Vatican, Poggio Bracciolini starting making some serious money of his own. Enough to get married and buy a big house. He served as chancellor of Florence for five years. After he died, Lucretius kept working its magic on the people of Europe. Forty years later, the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola ruled Florence for several years as a strict “Christian republic” and tried to ban the book. And he wasn’t the last Christian to try to have it banned or at least scorned. But it kept influencing people. On the London stage in the mid-1590s, Mercutio teased Romeo with a fantastical description of Queen Mab: She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes In shape no bigger than an agate stone On the forefinger of an alderman, Drawn with a team of little atomi Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep . . . (Romeo and Juliet, I.iv.55–59) The post #61 That New Car Smell appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
In 1419, a couple of years after he lost his papal secretary job and discovered Lucretius, Poggio did what everyone does when they are shit out luck and scraping the bottom of the barrel. He moved to England. He accepted the post of secretary to Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester and uncle of Henry V. Poggio hoped to find some intelligent life in England and maybe a valuable ancient manuscript. He was disappointed on both counts. So in 1422 he returned to work for the Vatican again, or, as he liked to call it, “The Lie Factory”. Meanwhile he kept trying to get Nicky to send him a copy of Lucretius so he could read it. Once back in Rome, he starts to make money – and illegitimate children. LOTS of illegitimate children. The post #60 The Lie Factory appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Nicky the Nickster was one of the most influential people in Florence in the early 1400s. He was the unofficial minister of culture and probably the guy who influenced Cosimo de Medici to support the humanists and artists. Obsessed with antiquity, he spent his entire family fortune on buying ancient manuscripts, sculptures and other artefacts. He was also a master of Latin and quite the dilettante. When he died, he had built the largest private library of ancient books in Italy. Early German printers used his cursive handwriting as the basis for italic typesetting. The post #59 Niccolo de Niccoli appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
When Christians banned other religions and philosophies in the late 4th century, Plato and Aristotle, pagans who believed in the immortality of the soul, could ultimately be accommodated by Christianity; but Epicureanism could not. The Epicureans believed life was about seeking pleasure and, if there was pain, it would end with death. Christians, on the other hand, thought life should be difficult, pleasure was evil, and pain could last for eternity. Therefore they had to wipe out all memory of the Epicureans and change the meaning of the term into someone who is a glutton. Here’s a short clip from the show: The post #58 How The Christians Wiped Out Epicureanism appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
Let’s get deep into some Lucretius, the Roman Epicurean philosopher poet. Today I want to read from “On the Nature of Things”. * As our Alexander listeners will know, Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher * 341–270 BCE * established his own school, known as “the Garden”, in Athens around 300 BCE * In the period after Alexander died * Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical subjects, and he openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy. * An extremely prolific writer, he is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. * Only three letters written by him and two collections of quotes have survived intact, along with a few fragments and quotations of his other writings. * Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later authors, particularly the Roman poet Lucretius, the biographer Diogenes Laërtius, Dickero, and the philosophers Philodemus and Sextus Empiricus. * For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia—peace and freedom from fear— and aponia—the absence of pain— and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. * He taught that the root of all human neurosis is death denial, and the tendency for human beings to assume that death will be horrific and painful, which he claimed causes unnecessary anxiety, selfish self-protective behaviors, and hypocrisy. * According to Epicurus, death is the end of both the body and the soul and therefore should not be feared. * Likewise, Epicurus taught that the gods, though they do exist, have no involvement in human affairs and do not punish or reward people for their actions. * Like Aristotle, Epicurus was an empiricist, meaning he believed that the senses are the only reliable source of knowledge about the world. * He derived much of his physics and cosmology from the earlier philosopher Democritus (c. * 460–c.370 BC). * Like Democritus, (c. 460 – c. 370 BC), Epicurus taught that the universe is infinite and eternal and that all matter is made up of extremely tiny, invisible particles known as atoms. * All occurrences in the natural world are ultimately the result of atoms moving and interacting in empty space. * Epicurus deviated from Democritus in his teaching of atomic “swerve”, which holds that atoms may deviate from their expected course, thus permitting humans to possess free will in an otherwise deterministic universe. * Epicureanism reached the height of its popularity during the late years of the Roman Republic, before declining as the rival school of Stoicism grew in popularity at its expense. * It finally died out in late antiquity in the wake of early Christianity. * Epicurus himself was popularly, though inaccurately, remembered throughout the Middle Ages as a patron of drunkards, whoremongers, and gluttons. * Democritus himself was supposedly a student of Leucippus (5th cent. BCE) who was the earliest Greek to develop the theory of atomism * Although there’s some doubt as to whether or not Leucippus actually existed * So – Lucretius didn’t invent atomism * But he articulated it beautifully in poetry * And I want to read some of it * * He starts off the book with a fairly traditional ode to the goddess Venus: * Mother of Aeneas’ sons, joy of men and gods, * nourishing Venus, who beneath the stars * that glide across the sky, crams full of life * ship-bearing seas and fruitful lands—through you * are conceived all families of living things * which rise up to gaze upon the splendour * of sunlight, and when you approach, goddess, * winds and sky clouds scurry off; for your sake, * artful earth puts forth sweet flowers; for you, * smooth seas smile, calm sky pours glittering light, * and once day’s face reveals the spring, winds blow * freely from the west, bringing fertility, * and air-born birds whose heart your power strikes * give first signs of you, goddess, and your approach. * But before long he he starts talking about gods and religion and how miserable people are, trying to work out what the gods want from them. * And then he gets into how to rid ourselves of superstition by using reason. * And so this terror, this darkness of mind, * must be dispelled, not by rays from the sun * or bright shafts of daylight, but by reason * and the face of nature. And we will start * to weave her first principle as follows: * nothing is ever brought forth by the gods * from nothing. That is, of course, how, through fear, * all mortal men are held in check—they view * many things done on earth and in the sky, * effects whose causes they cannot see at all, * and so they assume that such things happen * because of gods. Hence, once we understand * that nothing can be produced from nothing, * then we shall more accurately follow * what we are looking for, how everything * can be created and all work can be done * without any assistance from the gods. * Then a little later he explains that if all matter broke down endlessly over time, nothing would exist. * The world is so old, everything would have disappeared by now: * Thus, there is no substance * which is reduced to nothing—but all things, * once dissolved, go back to material stuff. * So something remains throughout time which is used to build other things. * And then a little later he explains how things which are invisible to the naked eye can still carry a powerful force: * First of all, the power of wind, once roused, * lashes harbours, annihilates huge ships, * scatters clouds. Sometimes in swift, whirling storms * it sweeps across the plains, covering them * with giant trees, and assaults mountain tops * with blasts that splinter wood—that’s how fiercely * the wind howls out in passionate anger, * screaming and threatening with a frantic howl. * And therefore we can have no doubt that winds, * although invisible, are bodies, too. * They sweep sea and land as well as sky clouds, * jolt and ravage them with sudden whirlwinds. * They rush on ahead and spread destruction, * just as water, whose nature is delicate, * suddenly carried in a flooding stream * gorged with massive run-off from heavy rains * down towering mountains races on, hurling * broken branches of the trees together, * whole trees, as well—strong bridges cannot stand * against the sudden power of the flood * as it charges on. In that way, swollen * with so much rain, the river then attacks, * with its massed, violent force, foundations * of the bridge—with a mighty roar it spreads * devastation, rolling immense boulders * underneath its waves, obliterating * whatever blocks its flow. And that, therefore, * must be how blasts of wind are carried, too. * When, like powerful rivers, they swoop down * any place they wish, they drive things forward * and pummel them with repeated onslaughts. * Sometimes they seize things in a twisting whirl * and carry objects instantly away * in a spiraling vortex. That is why, * to make the point again, winds are bodies, * although unseen, for in the way they act * and in what they do, we find they rival * great streams, which clearly are material stuff. Then, too, we sense the different smells of things, * yet never glimpse them coming to our nostrils. * Our eyes do not perceive a fiery heat, * nor can they see the cold. As for voices, * we are not used to viewing them. But still, * all must consist of corporeal stuff, * since they can strike our senses, for unless * there is bodily substance, no object * can touch or itself be touched. Moreover, * clothes hung up on a beach with breaking waves * get wet, but these same garments, once spread out * dry off in sunlight, yet no one has seen * how water moisture makes its way to them * or how, by contrast, influenced by heat, * it escapes again. The moisture, therefore, * is broken up in tiny particles * our eyes cannot through any means make out. * Then he starts to logic how everything must be made of small, invisible things: * with many yearly solar orbits, * a ring worn on the finger, through long use, * wears out underneath, and dripping water * falling from the eaves hollows out a stone; * and on a ploughshare, the blade’s curving edge, * though composed of iron, when used in farm land, * thanks to some concealed effect, gets smaller. * We know people’s feet wear down paving stones, * and bronze statues beside the gates reveal * that their right hands are being eroded * by people touching them so frequently, * when they salute them and then walk on by. * So we see these things are getting smaller, * as they are rubbed, but the jealous nature * of our vision prevents our noticing * at any moment matter moving off. * Finally, whatever material stuff * time and nature little by little add * to things, forcing them gradually to grow, * the sharpness of our straining eyes can see * none of it, nor, once more, what wastes away * through old age and decay. Nor can you see * what rocks hanging by the sea and eaten * by corrosive salt lose in each moment. * Hence, nature works with unseen particles. * Next he logics how all objects, no matter how solid they appear, must contain empty space: * And then, why do we see some things weigh more * than other things, when there is no difference * in their size? For if in a ball of wool * there is just as much matter as in lead, * they should weigh the same, since material stuff * has the property of pushing all things down, * but, by contrast, the nature of a void * continues on without weighing anything. * And so, the object which is just as large * and yet seems lighter clearly demonstrates * that it contains in it more empty space; * whereas, the heavier object indicates * that it has more material stuff inside * and far less void. Thus, there can be no doubt * the thing which we, with our keen argument, * are seeking out, what we describe as void, * exists, mixed in with substantial matter. * And so he summarises: * we shall prove that there are seeds, * primary elements of matter, from which, * in the grand total of created things, * all objects now are made. * Furthermore, * if material stuff had not been eternal, * all things would have been utterly reduced * to nothing long ago—and things we see * would have been reborn from nothing. * But since, * as I have previously explained, nothing * can be produced from nothing and, further, * what has been produced cannot be reduced * to nothing, then first elements must be * made of everlasting stuff, into which, * when its time is over, every object * can be dissolved, so matter is produced * for the renewal of things. * * And that’s just the beginning of Book One! * There are FIVE books! * He talks about the gods being separate from man and our universe, he talks about free will, soul, love, and magnets work – you name it. * And obviously he gets a lot of stuff wrong. * But also a lot of stuff right. The post #57 Lucretius “On The Nature Of Things” appeared first on The Renaissance Times.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Cameron Reilly & Ray Harris
Podcast Status
Finished
Started
Feb 2nd, 2018
Latest Episode
Jun 24th, 2020
Release Period
Weekly
Episodes
78
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
Yes
Order
Episodic

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