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Da Vinci’s Demons and The Borgia’s — A Historic Timeline

davinci-borgia-white-queen-collage-by-lanI love historical pieces, from movies, to tv shows to books.  So, of course I started watching Da Vinci’s Demons on Starz — great series!!!  It has a heavy dose of mysticism and plays up the genius of da Vinci to perfection.  I am really enjoying how they keep referencing a lot of the same family names I’ve heard in the Borgia’s — another awesome show, but this one is on Showtime and is more about the political/personal intrigues rather than mysticism and genius.  I remember having read somewhere that da Vinci used to work for Cesare Borgia for like… a year, (but this is arguable, some scholars believe it may have been longer but their belief is based on literature that other scholars deem as potentially being little more than propaganda…).  Still it got me to thinking… what else might these two series have in common?  And with the upcoming Starz series The White Queen that will be based on the intrigues of the English Monarchy during the same time frame — I got ever more curious.

Of course, that led me to make a Historic Timeline of what I consider interesting people and events from the fifteenth century, (1400-1500 AD).

The History Nerd in me must make this statement:  None of the shows promises to be historically correct!  Much dramatic license has been taken.  And although they occasionally strive to break common misconceptions of that period of history they also take hefty liberties with documented facts.  So — my timeline isn’t necessarily the timeline any of the series will reflect.  My timeline is based on historical references.

The Timeline:

Birth Death Name(s) Details
1389 1464 Cosimo di Giovanni de’ Medici Was the first of the Medici political dynasty, de facto rulers of Florence during much of the Italian Renaissance; also known as “Cosimo ‘the Elder’” (“il Vecchio”) and “Cosimo Pater Patriae” (Latin: ‘father of the nation’)Born in Florence, Cosimo inherited both his wealth and his expertise in business from his father, Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici.In 1415, he accompanied the Antipope John XXIII at the Council of Constance, and in the same year he was named “Priore of the Republic.” Later he acted frequently as ambassador, showing a prudence for which he became renowned.Cosimo married Contessina de’ Bardi (the daughter of Giovanni, count of Vernio, and Emilia Pannocchieschi). They had two sons: Piero the Gouty and Giovanni de’ Medici. Cosimo also had an illegitimate son, Carlo de’ Medici (1430-1492) by a Circassian slave who became a prelate.On his death in 1464 at Careggi, Cosimo was succeeded by his son Piero “the Gouty”, father of Lorenzo the Magnificent or Il Magnifico. After his death the Signoria awarded him the title Pater Patriae, “Father of his Country”, an honor once awarded to Cicero, and had it carved upon his tomb in the Church of San Lorenzo.Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici (the Gouty), (1416 – December 2, 1469), was the de facto ruler of Florence from 1464 to 1469, during the Italian Renaissance. He was the father of Lorenzo the Magnificent and Giuliano de’ Medici.
1401 1494 to 1559 Italian Renaissance Was a cultural movement that spanned the period roughly from the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. Though availability of paper and the invention of metal movable type sped the dissemination of ideas from the later 15th century, the changes of the Renaissance were not uniformly experienced across Europe.Some writers date the Renaissance quite precisely; one proposed starting point is 1401, when the rival geniuses Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi competed for the contract to build the bronze doors for the Baptistery of the Florence Cathedral (Ghiberti won).As a cultural movement, it encompassed innovative flowering of Latin and vernacular literatures, beginning with the 14th-century resurgence of learning based on classical sources, which contemporaries credited to Petrarch, the development of linear perspective and other techniques of rendering a more natural reality in painting, and gradual but widespread educational reform.In politics, the Renaissance contributed the development of the conventions of diplomacy, and in science an increased reliance on observation. Historians often argue this intellectual transformation was a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern era. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term “Renaissance man“.There is a consensus that the Renaissance began in Florence, Italy, in the 14th century. Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, focusing on a variety of factors including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time; its political structure; the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici; and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.The Italian Renaissance peaked in the mid-16th century as foreign invasions plunged the region into the turmoil of the Italian Wars. However, the ideas and ideals of the Renaissance endured and even spread into the rest of Europe, setting off the Northern Renaissance, and the English Renaissance.
1414 1484 Francesco della Rovere a.k.a. Pope Sixtus IV Pope from 1471 to 1484. His accomplishments as Pope included the establishment of the Sistine Chapel; the group of artists that he brought together introduced the Early Renaissance into Rome with the first masterpiece of the city’s new artistic age, the Vatican Archives.Sixtus also furthered the agenda of the Spanish Inquisition and annulled the decrees of the Council of Constance. He was famed for his nepotism and was personally involved in the infamous Pazzi Conspiracy.
1431 1503 Roderic Llançol i de Borja, a.k.a. Pope Alexander VI Pope from 1492 until his death in 1503. He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, and his Italianized catalan surname Borgia became a byword for libertinism and nepotism, which are traditionally considered as characterizing his papacy. However, his reputation is mostly drawn from his enemies, the Italian prelates and barons whose power he subverted. Two of Alexander’s successors, Sixtus V and Urban VIII, described him as one of the most outstanding popes since St. Peter. His reputation rests more on his considerable skills as a diplomat, politician and civil administrator rather than as a pastor, although regarding the latter he was no less effective than any of the other renaissance pontiffs.Of Alexander’s many mistresses the one for whom passion lasted longest was a certain Vannozza (Giovanna) dei Cattani, born in 1442, and wife of three successive husbands. The connection began in 1470, and she bore him four children whom he openly acknowledged as his own: Giovanni, afterwards duke of Gandia (born 1474), Cesare (born 1476), Lucrezia (born 1480), and Goffredo or Giuffre (born 1481 or 1482). Three of his other children, Girolama, Isabella and Pedro-Luiz, were of uncertain parentage. However, his son, Bernardo, was birthed by Vittoria (Victoria) Sailór dei Venezia in 1469. Bernardo is typically not known of, because his father kept him in hiding, most likely due to shame, for he was a cardinal, who aspired to become the pope. He obviously gave up hiding his many children after he fathered four more. Therefore, Bernardo received the least amount of attention of his siblings. When he became older, he grew bitter of his father and fled for his mother.Before his elevation to the papacy Cardinal Borgia’s passion for Vannozza somewhat diminished, and she subsequently led a very retired life. Her place in his affections was filled by the beautiful Giulia Farnese (Giulia Bella), wife of an Orsini, but his love for his children by Vannozza remained as strong as ever and proved, indeed, the determining factor of his whole career. He lavished vast sums on them and lauded them with every honour. The atmosphere of Alexander’s household is typified by the fact that his daughter Lucrezia lived with his mistress Giulia, who bore him a daughter, Laura, in 1492.
1443 1488 Count Girolamo Riario Born in Savona, Riario was the son of Paolo Riario and Bianca della Rovere. He was a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV, who granted him the seignory of Imola, as a dowry for his marriage with Caterina Sforza (daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan) in 1473.Four years later, just after the marriage had been celebrated, Girolamo took control of Forlì, ousting the Ordelaffi.In 1478 he was one of the plotters behind the Pazzi conspiracy, a plot to assassinate two prominent members of the Medici family in Florence. In addition to conspiring, he was an intended beneficiary, once Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici had been killed. In 1484, after the death of Sixtus IV, Caterina briefly occupied Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome on his behalf. Girolamo was Captain General of the Church.Riario promoted several further plots against the Medici, but they all failed. In 1488 he was the last of the main Pazzi conspirators left alive, and was himself assassinated in a conspiracy led by two members of the Orsi family from Forlì, supposedly over a financial dispute.
1443 1513 Giuliano della Rovere, a.k.a. Pope Julius II Nicknamed “The Fearsome Pope” (Il Papa Terribile) and “The Warrior Pope” (Il Papa Guerriero), Giuliano della Rovere was Pope from 1503 to 1513. His papacy was marked by an active foreign policy, ambitious building projects, and patronage for the arts – he commissioned the destruction and rebuilding of St. Peter’s Basilica, plus Michelangelo’s decoration of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
1445 1510 Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, a.k.a. Sandro Botticelli Was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. He belonged to the Florentine school under the patronage of Lorenzo de’ Medici, a movement that Giorgio Vasari would characterize less than a hundred years later as a “golden age“, a thought, suitably enough, he expressed at the head of his Vita of Botticelli. Botticelli’s posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century; since then his work has been seen to represent the linear grace of Early Renaissance painting. Among his best known works are The Birth of Venus and Primavera.
1449 1492 Lorenzo de’ Medici Called “the Magnificent”, Lorenzo planned his children’s future careers for them. He groomed the headstrong Piero II to follow as his successor in civil leadership; Giovanni (future Pope Leo X) was placed in the church at an early age; and his daughter Maddalena was provided with a sumptuous dowry to make a politically advantageous marriage to a son of Pope Innocent VIII.Lorenzo’s court included artists such as Piero and Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Michelangelo Buonarroti who were involved in the 15th-century Renaissance. Although he did not commission many works himself, he helped them secure commissions from other patrons. Michelangelo lived with Lorenzo and his family for five years, dining at the family table and participating in the discussions led by Marsilio Ficino.
1452 1485 Richard III Was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 in the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at Bosworth Field, the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, is sometimes regarded as the end of the Middle Ages in England.
1452 1498 Girolamo Savonarola Was an Italian Dominican friar and preacher active in Renaissance Florence, and known for his prophecies of civic glory and calls for Christian renewal. He denounced clerical corruption, despotic rule and the exploitation of the poor. He prophesied the coming of a biblical flood and a new Cyrus from the north who would reform the Church. This seemed confirmed when Charles VIII of France invaded Italy and threatened Florence. While Savonarola intervened with the king, the Florentines expelled the ruling Medici and, at the friar’s urging, established a popular republic. Declaring that Florence would be the New Jerusalem, the world center of Christianity and “richer, more powerful, more glorious than ever”, he instituted a puritanical campaign, enlisting the active help of Florentine youth.
In 1495 when Florence refused to join Pope Alexander VI’s Holy League against the French, Savonarola was summoned to Rome. He disobeyed and further defied the pope by preaching under a ban, highlighting his campaign for reform with processions, bonfires of the vanities, and pious theatricals. In retaliation, the Pope excommunicated him and threatened to place the city under an interdict. A trial by fire proposed by a rival Florentine preacher to test Savonarola’s divine mandate was a fiasco and popular opinion turned against him. Savonarola and two lieutenants were imprisoned. Under torture, Savonarola confessed that he had invented his visions and prophecies. On May 23, 1498, the three friars were condemned, hanged and burned in the main square of Florence. Savonarola’s devotees, the Piagnoni, kept his cause of republican freedom and religious reform alive well into the next century, although the Medici – restored to power with the help of the papacy – eventually broke the movement.The return of the Medici in 1512 ended the Savonarola-inspired republic and intensified pressure against the movement, although both were briefly revived in 1527 when the Medici were once again forced out. In 1530, however, Pope Clement VII (Giulio de’ Medici), with the help of soldiers of the Holy Roman Emperor, restored Medici rule, and Florence became an hereditary dukedom. Piagnoni were silenced, hunted, tortured, imprisoned and exiled, and the movement, at least as a political force, came to an end.
1452 1519 Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci An Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”.He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.In Cesena, in 1502 Leonardo entered the service of Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander VI, acting as a military architect and engineer and traveling throughout Italy with his patron. Leonardo created a map of Cesare Borgia’s stronghold, a town plan of Imola in order to win his patronage. Maps were extremely rare at the time and it would have seemed like a new concept; upon seeing it, Cesare hired Leonardo as his chief military engineer and architect. Later in the year, Leonardo produced another map for his patron, one of Chiana Valley, Tuscany so as to give his patron a better overlay of the land and greater strategic position. He created this map in conjunction with his other project of constructing a dam from the sea to Florence in order to allow a supply of water to sustain the canal during all seasons.
1453 1453 Fall of Constantinople  Was the capture of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of 21-year-old Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos. The siege lasted from Friday, 6 April 1453 until Tuesday, 29 May 1453 (according to the Julian calendar), when the city was conquered by the Ottomans.The capture of Constantinople (and two other Byzantine splinter territories soon thereafter) marked the end of the last remnant of the Roman Empire, an imperial state which had lasted for nearly 1,500 years. It was also a massive blow to Christendom, and the Ottomans thereafter were free to advance into Europe without an adversary to their rear. After the conquest, Mehmed made Constantinople the Ottoman Empire’s new capital. Several Greek and non-Greek intellectuals fled the city before and after the siege, migrating particularly to Italy. It is argued that they helped fuel the Renaissance. Some mark the end of the Middle Ages by the fall of the city and empire.
1453 1478 Giuliano de’ Medici Was the second son of Piero de’ Medici (the Gouty) and Lucrezia Tornabuoni. As co-ruler of Florence, with his brother Lorenzo the Magnificent, he complemented his brother’s image as the “patron of the arts” with his own image as the handsome, sporting, “golden boy.”As the opening stroke of the Pazzi Conspiracy, he was assassinated on Sunday, 26 April 1478 in the Duomo of Florence, Santa Maria del Fiore, by Francesco de’ Pazzi and Bernardo Bandini. He was killed by a sword wound to the head and was stabbed 19 times.Giuliano was buried in his father’s tomb in the Church of San Lorenzo but later, with his brother Lorenzo, was reinterred in the Medici Chapel of the same church, in an unmarked tomb surmounted by a statue of the Madonna and Child of Michelangelo.
1455 1485 Wars of the Roses A series of dynastic wars fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the houses of Lancaster and York (whose heraldic symbols were the red and the white rose, respectively) for the throne of England. They were fought in several sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1485, although there was related fighting both before and after this period. They resulted from the social and financial troubles following the Hundred Years’ War. The final victory went to a relatively remote Lancastrian claimant, Henry Tudor, who defeated the last Yorkist king Richard III and married Edward IV‘s daughter Elizabeth of York to unite the two houses. The House of Tudor subsequently ruled England and Wales for 117 years.
1457 1509 Henry VII, King of England King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor.Henry won the throne when he defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of England to win his throne on the field of battle. Henry cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III.
1463 1509 Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì An Italian noblewoman, the illegitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan and Lucrezia Landriani, the wife of the courtier Gian Piero Landriani, a close friend of the Duke. Caterina later held the titles of Lady of Imola and Countess of Forlì, by her marriage to Girolamo Riario.  She was also the Regent for her first-born son, Ottaviano. Caterina, from an early age, distinguished herself by her bold and impetuous actions taken to safeguard her possessions from possible usurpers, and to defend her dominions from attack, when they were involved in political intrigues that were a distinguishing feature of 15th century Italy.In her private life Caterina was devoted to various activities, among which were experiments in alchemy and a love of hunting and dancing. She had a large number of children, of whom only the youngest, Captain Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, inherited the forceful, militant character of his mother.Following Caterina’s resistance to Cesare Borgia, she had to face his fury and he took her prisoner. Upon regaining her liberty following her imprisonment in Rome, she led a quiet life in Florence. In the final years of her life, she confided to a monk: “If I were to write the story of my life, I would shock the world.
1469 1527 Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli An Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He was for many years an official in the Florentine Republic.Machiavellianism is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct”, deriving from the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer Niccolò Machiavelli, who wrote Il Principe (The Prince) and other works. The word has a similar use in modern psychology where it describes one of the dark triad personalities, characterised by a duplicitous interpersonal style associated with cynical beliefs and pragmatic morality.
1475 1564 Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni Commonly known as Michelangelo was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci. On The Rivalry Between Michelangelo and da Vinci:“As Leonardo, accompanied by [his friend] Giovanni di Gavina, was passing the Spini Bank, near the church of Santa Trinità, several notables were assembled who were discussing a passage in Dante and seeing Leonardo, they asked him to come and explain it to them.At the same moment Michelangelo passed and, one of the crowd calling to him, Leonardo said: ‘Michelangelo will be able to tell you what it means.’ To which Michelangelo, thinking this had been said to entrap him, replied: ‘No, explain it yourself, horse-modeller that you are, who, unable to cast a statue in bronze, were forced to give up the attempt in shame.’ So saying, he turned his back on them and left. Leonardo remained silent and blushed at these words.”   (quoted in The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Oxford University Press, 1952,  trans. Irma A. Richter, p.356 ) [source]
1475 or 1476 1507 Cesare Borgia Duke of Valentinois, was an Italian condottiero, nobleman, politician, and cardinal. He was the son of Pope Alexander VI (r. 1492–1503) and his long-term mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei. He was the brother of Lucrezia Borgia; Giovanni Borgia (Juan), Duke of Gandia; and Gioffre Borgia (Jofré in Catalan), Prince of Squillace. He was half-brother to Don Pedro Luis de Borja (1460–88) and Girolama de Borja, children of unknown mothers.After initially entering the church and becoming a cardinal on his father’s election to the Papacy, after the death of his brother in 1498 he became the first person to resign a cardinalcy. His father set him up as a prince with territory carved from the Papal States, but after his father’s death he was unable to retain power for long, and after escaping from prison died fighting in Spain.Cesare Borgia briefly employed Leonardo da Vinci as military architect and engineer between 1502 and 1503. Cesare and Leonardo became intimate instantaneously — Cesare provided Leonardo with an unlimited pass to inspect and direct all ongoing and planned construction in his domain. Before meeting Cesare, Leonardo had worked at the Milanese court of Ludovico Sforza for many years, until Louis XII of France drove Sforza out of Italy.
1478 Pazzi conspiracy  (April 26, 1478), unsuccessful plot to overthrow the Medici rulers of Florence; the most dramatic of all political opposition to the Medici family. The conspiracy was led by the rival Pazzi family of Florence.In league with the Pazzi were Pope Sixtus IV and his nephew Girolamo Riario, who resented Lorenzo de’ Medici’s efforts to thwart the consolidation of papal rule over the Romagna, a region in north-central Italy, and also the archbishop of Pisa, Francesco Salviati, whom Lorenzo had refused to recognize. An assassination attempt on the Medici brothers was made during mass at the Cathedral of Florence on April 26, 1478. Giuliano de’ Medici was killed by Francesco Pazzi, but Lorenzo was able to defend himself and escaped only slightly wounded. Meanwhile, other conspirators tried to gain control of the government. But the people of Florence rallied to the Medici; the conspirators were ruthlessly pursued and many (including the archbishop of Pisa) were killed on the spot.The failure of the conspiracy led directly to a two-year war with the papacy that was almost disastrous for Florence. But the most important effect was to strengthen the power of Lorenzo, who not only was rid of his most dangerous enemies but also was shown to have the solid support of the people.  [source]
1480 1519 Lucrezia Borgia Daughter of Pope Alexander VI, and Vannozza dei Cattanei. Her brothers included Cesare Borgia, Giovanni Borgia, and Gioffre Borgia. 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.Very little is known of Lucrezia, and the extent of her complicity in the political machinations of her father and brothers is unclear. They certainly arranged several marriages for her to important or powerful men in order to advance their own political ambitions. Lucrezia was married to Giovanni Sforza (Lord of Pesaro), Alfonso of Aragon (Duke of Bisceglie), and Alfonso I d’Este (Duke of Ferrara). Tradition has it that Alfonso of Aragon was an illegitimate son of the King of Naples and that her brother Cesare may have had him murdered after his political value waned.Lucrezia was mother to seven or eight known children:

  • Giovanni Borgia, “infans Romanus” (“Child of Rome”, c. 1498–1548). The child’s paternity was acknowledged by both Alexander and Cesare in two separate Papal bulls, but it was rumoured that he was the child of Lucrezia and Perotto. The child (identified in later life as Lucrezia’s half-brother) was most likely the result of a liaison between Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia’s father) and an unknown mistress and was not Lucrezia’s child.
  • Rodrigo of Aragon (1 November 1499 – August 1512). Son by Alfonso of Aragon.
  • Ercole II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara (5 April 1508 – 3 October 1559).
  • Ippolito II d’Este (25 August 1509 – 1 December 1572). Archbishop of Milan and later Cardinal.
  • Alessandro d’Este (1514–1516).
  • Leonora d’Este (3 July 1515 – 15 July 1575). A nun.
  • Francesco d’Este, Marquess of Massalombarda (1 November 1516 – 2 February 1578).
  • Isabella Maria d’Este (born and died on 14 June 1519). Complications at birth caused the death of Lucrezia ten days later.

At least one biographer (Maria Bellonci) claims that Lucrezia gave birth to three more children, one by Alfonso of Aragon and two by Alfonso d’Este, who did not survive infancy. She is also thought to have had at least four miscarriages.

Lucrezia is claimed to be the ancestress of many notable people, including American Civil War general P.G.T. Beauregard. She is a collateral relative of most of the royal families of modern Europe including that of the United Kingdom. Through her granddaughter Anna d’Este, Duchess of Guise and later Duchess of Nemours, Lucrezia is the ancestress of Juan Carlos I of Spain; Albert II of Belgium; Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg; as well as the Count of Paris and the claimants to the Thrones of Porugal, Austria, Bavaria, Brazil, Parma, Saxony and the Two Sicilies.

Rumors:

Several rumors have persisted throughout the years, primarily speculating as to the nature of the extravagant parties thrown by the Borgia family. Many of these concern allegations of incest, poisoning, and murder on her part; however, no historical basis for these rumors has ever been brought forward, beyond allegations made by the rivals of the Borgias.

  • It is rumoured that Lucrezia was in possession of a hollow ring that she used frequently to poison drinks.
  • An early 20th century painting by Frank Cadogan Cowper that hangs in the London art gallery, Tate Britain, portrays Lucrezia taking the place of her father, Pope Alexander VI, at an official Vatican meeting. This apparently documents an actual event, although the precise moment depicted (a Franciscan friar kissing Lucrezia’s feet) was invented by the artist.
1497 Bonfire of the Vanities Refers to the burning of objects that are deemed to be occasions of sin. The most infamous one took place on 7 February 1497, when supporters of the Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola collected and publicly burned thousands of objects like cosmetics, art, and books in Florence, Italy, on the Mardi Gras festival. Such bonfires were not invented by Savonarola, however. They were a common accompaniment to the outdoor sermons of San Bernardino di Siena in the first half of the century.
The focus of this destruction was nominally on objects that might tempt one to sin, including vanity items such as mirrors, cosmetics, fine dresses, playing cards, and even musical instruments. 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 and sculpture.Although it is widely reported that the Florentine artist Sandro Botticelli burned several of his paintings based on classical mythology in the great Florentine bonfire of 1492, the historical record on this is not clear. According to the art historian Giorgio Vasari, Botticelli was a partisan of Savonarola: “he was so ardent a partisan that he was thereby induced to desert his painting, and, having no income to live on, fell into very great distress“. Writing several centuries later, Orestes Brownson, an apologist for Savonarola, mentions artwork only by Fra Bartolomeo, Lorenzo di Credi, and “many other painters”, along with “several antique statues”. Art historian Rab Hatfield argues that one of Botticelli’s paintings, The Mystical Nativity, is based on the sermon Savonarola delivered on Christmas Eve 1493.

The majority of information above came from Wikipedia — not always the most reliable of sources, I did a lot of cross checking to ensure that the information is as factual as possible.  If the information came from another source, I credit them with the [source] tag.

I hope you enjoy this walk through history as much as I did researching it!  I think it is amazing to see how so many lives collided during an era that held such historic impact.  I admit I am looking forward to seeing how all these facts end up playing out in the fabulous tv series — Da Vinci’s Demons, The Borgia’s and the upcoming “The White Queen“.

Show times:

  • Da Vinci’s DemonsStarz Friday Nights 9/8 C
  • The Borgia’sShowtime Sunday Nights 10/9 C
  • The White QueenStarz premiere date set for August 2013

Lan

 

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