Renaissance
Lisa M. Lane 2008
Creative Commons License
The text and audio by Lisa M. Lane is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Lisahistory: Renaissance
View more webinars from Lisa M Lane.

Transcript

>> Women are still not fully integrated into history. It's -- it's odd how certain groups or certain topics historically, as people write textbooks, what tends to happen is somebody comes up with the idea to [Inaudible] the community, hey, this group's been left out, or this idea's been left out. So it becomes popular in the historical journals, and people start talking about it or arguing about it or whatever, and then, eventually, if the idea hangs around long enough or the group is around long enough and becomes an issue of study, then people start saying, oh, oh, we better put this group or this idea in the textbook now. What happens then with women is that women's history -- the kind of separate study of women -- began in the 1970's pretty much. And this is sort of the pattern with any new group or new idea that people start trying to make part of history. First, it's separate studies on women in history, then they turn into little boxes in textbooks, you know. In other words, you don't change the main flow of the narrative, you just put in a box on women, or a box on black people, right -- in American history textbooks, you'll see those -- or a box on a particular new idea that hasn't been integrated yet. And, gradually, over time, they start actually rewriting the chapters themselves, or revamping the entire textbook, and they start to integrate that particular idea, that particular topic, that particular group into the text. Well, your textbook -- we're not quite at the place yet where women are completely integrated into the text. We're still at the point where you have a section on women, a paragraph on women. I predict -- and I do make predictions, occasionally -- historians probably shouldn't do that, but I was right about the economy; [Chuckle] I knew this was coming. The textbooks, I would say, 10, 15, I hope not as far as 20 years from now, are not going to have these separate sections you're reading on women. They're going to be integrated -- the history of everybody. As time goes by, this is what happens. New ideas start to be integrated. If you had had a textbook, say 50 years ago, sections on economics and sections on social history would have been in the boxes, but they're now fully integrated into your -- into your textual narrative. Women -- women are not. So this particular chapter on the Renaissance was absolutely lousy at integrating females into the experience, and for that reason, it's very difficult unless you're a Renaissance scholar -- and I'm not -- to get a real clear picture of all of Renaissance society. So what I'm going to do here is talk about this -- the overarching theme, not in the context of gender, but just overarching theme. When I put the PowerPoint together and I was done, I suddenly went [Gasp] there's no women. Who should I put? I need a woman. And I chose this one. This is Veronica Franco. I don't believe she's in your textbook. Does anybody know her? She was a prostitute -- and a really, really good one.

[ Laughter ]I love her.

[ Laughter ] Venice. She practically owned Venice. All the people that you read about in your book who were in Venice probably knew her intimately. There is -- there's an interesting historical theme about the role of courtesans. I mentioned Aspasia when we talked about the ancient Greeks. Courtesans of great people or very public people -- people have the ideas, the artistic endeavor, the political power, whatever it is -- have a lot of the knowledge and end up being in the feedback loop for a lot of stuff that's going on. Veronica Franco is in many ways at the heart of the Renaissance. This women, she charged the equivalent of week's pay for an average laborer for one kiss, and she got it. So this is somebody who you would say, where do you put this person? If you're looking at the flow of Renaissance history and you're looking at all these things I talked about in the chapter, where did she fit? She's not an artist; she doesn't have political power of her own, although I can tell you she influenced the political power of others significantly. Where do we put her? There are, then, a number of ways in which people are not integrated into the flow of history, and yet they might have an extraordinary impact at the time. And Veronica Franco is one of these. So I just -- that's -- in thinking about which female I should put in here as a model, I thought, who's connected to all these different aspects -- artists, scientists, political figures. Oh, I know, Veronica Franco. They made a movie about her, but I haven't seen it yet. It's called, Dangerous Beauty . I don't want to recommend it, because I don't know if it's any good, I haven't seen it. The actor they picked to play her doesn't look like her, so as I said, I haven't seen it. [Inaudible student comment]

>> No. No. Interestingly enough, there were cities that had that, where you had to wear a marker of some kind; for example, in the seventeenth century in Vienna, you had to carry or have showing a yellow scarf, you know, sort of a badge saying, "I'm a prostitute." They did not have that during the Renaissance. Very few cities -- a lot of them had registers of prostitutes. I mean, we know she's on a list of books of like thousands of prostitutes. We also know that during times of great intellectual activity, there's also a lot of sexual activity because it seems like during the times in western history where there's a whole lot of intellectual stuff going on, those are also the times where we have documentary evidence of lists and lists of brothels and prostitutes and madams and places where it's open and it's public and, you know, it's no problem finding the documentation. This isn't undercover at all. And at other times where things are -- get a little stranger and morality becomes more public issue, like in the nineteenth century, all that stuff goes underground and it's a lot harder to find. This was so open that nobody would even talk about it, and they don't seem to have any particular badges or things that they have to wear. The only -- the only way you could really tell, I think -- nope, you can't really tell. You dress like any other, you know,

[ Laughter ] [Inaudible] -- I'm sorry.

>> [Inaudible]

[ Laughter ]

>> Well, she's a little exposed. But that was actually stylish too.

>> Really?

>> Yes. And you would have found wealthy women -- yeah, you would have found wealthy women, you know, bearing as much as they could get away with.

>> [Inaudible]

>> No, I'm afraid not, no. I'm afraid it wouldn't get anybody into trouble.

>> [Inaudible]

>> Which parts of the body -- which parts of the body have to be covered changes a lot over -- over history; and which parts of the body are considered to be erotic also changes over history. And sometimes it's easy to make a mistake and say, oh, they're exposing an erotic part of the body. Well, at this particular time, we don't know whether breasts were even that erotic. You know, I know it seems like they should be biologically, but this doesn't seem to be a time when they were emphasized in that way, so I don't know.

>> Weren't they considered sensual?

>> Yes, sensual, but not necessarily, you know, [Gasp] I can see that, kind of thing, yeah.

>> [Inaudible]

>> I don't know.

>> [Inaudible]

>> I don't know. Well, in trying to deal with light and color, which a lot of them were trying -- this is a painting by Tintoretto, and he was particularly -- his big deal was light and color. That's like what he was known for, so he's trying to draw the eye in various directions with the light and the color, and that's the color. Okay. I also want to give you kind of a different way of looking at the Renaissance in that it's a created period; in other words, you wouldn't have woken up in 1425 and gone, wow, it's the Renaissance. In other words, there's not necessarily a self-awareness -- at any historical period that -- you're living in a period -- I mean, we were talking before class about, you know, what are they going to say about us now? What are we even go to call this period? I mean, for -- while we're in it, we just call it the "contemporary period" because we're all in it. But what about when it passes? What is this going to be? What are we going to call it? The Renaissance wasn't named or set apart as a particular era until the nineteenth century where this one guy invented it. Jacob Burckhardt wrote a book in 1860 called, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy , and he's the one who sort of pulled a bunch of stuff together and came up with a big thesis. And the idea was -- his idea was that the classical past, you know, the ancient Greeks and the Romans, and he's pretty much ignoring the whole Hellenistic thing, which is why so many people do. He looked back and said the Greek and the Roman times were the height of human civilization. And then things got dark and superstitious and spooky and overly moralistic. It was a nasty, nasty time. And, then, later you had this period where all the Greek and the Roman stuff got revived, reborn -- Renaissance means "rebirth" -- and when that happened, it was like the sun came out on civilization and everything was wonderful again. The fact that we call everything that happened in between the Greeks and the Romans and this the "Middle Ages" is his fault because that's what this is in the middle of. If you ever wondered, middle of what, the middle part between the classical past and the Renaissance is what they call the Middle Ages because of Jacob Burckhardt. And as you can see here, you know, he's saying, in the Middle Ages here, it was like we were dreaming, it was like we were half sleep. He completely rejects all of the cultural achievements -- agricultural achievements, technological achievements, and intellectual achievements -- of the Middle Ages. The intellectual achievements, in particular, he degrades because they're so related to the Church. He did not -- he thought that anything that had to do with God, even the examination of a hex using logic, was still superstitious -- based on superstition. He didn't like any of that. So he's the guy who invented the Renaissance. And you can see what he thinks its qualities are that are most important are things like objectivity and being conscious of yourself. Being aware.

>> [Inaudible]

>> You know, at that time in 1860, the Church had very little power anyway. By the time he was writing, there weren't a whole lot of people offended by what he had to say because they felt, in 1860, you've got another era where people felt, self-consciously, that they were living in an age of progress. You know, that was the time when you had all the new technology -- the camera, the railroad, you know, all that kind of stuff, the gramophone, these kinds of things. So at the time he's living is another Renaissance. So they looked back and said, yes, we -- we see this, and we're in one now. Isn't that cool. Oftentimes sources where somebody's writing about the past say a lot more about the time in which they're writing than they do about the times they're writing about. In a lot of ways, Burckhardt's, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy is more about Victorian Europe than it is about the Renaissance. But this is when everybody started using the term, and this is why you have a chapter on it that's separate, and this is why we have the weird overlap. Because remember what I told you? It's the same date, right? [Writing on chalkboard] All the horrors of the late Middle Ages, the dates of the Renaissance -- and I'm going to put this like this -- [Writing on chalkboard] are the same dates. And I'll tell you why I'm doing that in just a minute. Any questions on the term or the time frame that we're talking about here?

>> Why is like that -- the overlap?

>> It overlaps because it is considered, thanks to Burckhardt, that what happened in Italy was extraordinary and ahead of what was happening everywhere else. Now, what they do in your chapter to deal with the "everywhere else," right -- I mean, what do they do with the rest of Europe in your chapter?

>> Put it [Inaudible].

>> Yeah. They put -- they put some of it in the Middle Ages in the last chapter, in the late Middle Ages. But then what happens at the end of this chapter? Do you remember?

>> [Inaudible] Renaissance spreads.

>> Yeah.

>> [Inaudible]

>> Yeah. They take it as a spread, that the Italian ideas spread northward until everybody else picks it up, and that way they get back to covering the rest of Europe. But I blame this guy for that sort of weird divided approach. And, yeah, there's something so extraordinary happening here and it spread. Well, the spread theory is off, I think, because a lot of the stuff that was going on in the north, in what we call the "late Middle Ages" was already happening even before there was that much contact with Italy, so. Take that one with a grain of salt, I think. The reason we use this date instead of the date we ought to use -- in my opinion, we should be doing this: What's called the "quattrocento," the 1400s is the date we really should use for the Italian Renaissance because there isn't a whole lot happening that you could see, you know, paintings, artwork, stuff like that, till 1400s, but the reason we date it in 1350 is it overlaps, is because of Petrarch, because Petrarch is considered to be the symbolic first humanist, the first guy who has the self-consciousness, the self-awareness that Burckhardt is on about. Petrarch has that. And the way that you see it is in all these letters he wrote. He would write letters to dead people, and the dead people he's writing to are the ones from the classical past, the Greek and the Roman classical past. So because of his, what they call "classicism," his awareness and understanding of the Greek and Roman period and what it represents, and because he's seeing -- he's seeing everything in the middle as being dark like Burckhardt sees it, we end up saying, well, because Petrarch was writing around 1350, he's -- we have to put the Renaissance right where he's writing. So this is an example of his stuff from a letter he's writing to Cicero, who obviously has been dead a very, very long time. And saying how his own society, the one he lives in -- and keep in mind, of course, he's living during the Plague, okay. Never forget that these overlap the Plague [Inaudible]. When's the Black Death -- 1347. So if he's writing around 1350, he has been through and survived the Black Death and seen the horror all around him. So I get his depression, you know, the pessimism. "The shame of failing to cultivate our own talents, thereby depriving the future of the fruits that they might have yielded, is not enough for us; we must waste and spoil to our cruel and insufferable neglect, the fruits of your labors too..." what's he talking about? What were Cicero's labors that they're neglecting.

>> [Inaudible]

>> Classical?

>> Philosophy.

>> Philosophy.

>> Public spirit.

>> Yeah, that's a good point. Public spiritedness, I guess we'd call it or some kind of awareness of public life. He's saying that all those ideas, the political ideas, are being totally neglected by his own age. And that they're, you know, that's like throwing out historical tradition. That's like saying that the stuff that came before isn't important and we're just going off doing our own thing. "...and those of your fellows as well..." -- all of your classical Greeks and Romans -- "...for the fate that I lament in the case of your own books..." -- what had happened was a lot of those books had been lost; some of them had been buried; some of them had been burned accidentally, some on purpose because they were pagan books. Okay, things that happened, his classical knowledge that he's upset about, I get that. "...has befallen the works of many another illustrious man." There's lost knowledge here, and he's aware that there's been knowledge lost and there's knowledge there, and he thinks it's time to access that knowledge again. So he's doing it through his letters. I'm not sure whether -- I think, we have to call him a "humanist" not just a classicist. I mean, the two are related. A classicist likes to recover the classical books, the classicist is what we would today call an "antiquarian," somebody who collects old books or digs up old stuff just because it's old and likes that. So he's definitely one of them. But he's also considered the first humanist because what he sees when he digs up the old stuff is so different from the perspective of other people at the time he's living, that he -- what he's digging up, he's saying, what I find interesting here is all this stuff he says is being wasted. So political ideas, that philosophy, that view of the world -- world view -- is lost and needs to come back. So that's why we put the date here instead of where it probably should be in terms of [inaudible]. Questions on him or what he stands for or what I'm using him for?

>> So you -- pretty much 1350?

>> He's here. He's right in --

>> When did he die?

>> Right about then. I'm not sure. We'd have to -- that's in your book, but I -- you need to look it up but --

>> [Inaudible]

>> Yeah. No, he didn't die in the Plague as -- he may have died later in another round. I mean, the Plague keeps coming back over and over. As long as the weather's bad, the Plague will be back. In fact, attacks of the Black Death coming through repeatedly, although they get further apart, the disease is going to be around through the same -- roughly the same transmission process we were talking about, until 1750 because that's when the climate changes in the rat ship from the -- from the black back to the brown European rat, and then the Plague is going to become something that people don't even remember anymore. But it's around a really long -- I mean, you're talking about 1350 -- 400 years of it coming through periodically and wiping everybody out, so he could have died later in one of those, but we definitely could look that up; that's easy to find. I used this picture because he's got the classical laurel wreath round his head, what the Caesars used to wear, and the, you know, whenever they made paintings of things like Socrates or something like that, they'd use this laurel wreath. It's a -- the laurel, the bay tree has been a symbol of wisdom since way back into the classical period so they used it, you know, emperors wore it as if they were wise; some were, some weren't. But, yeah, that they put him in the laurel headgear. All right. Humanism itself, I guess the definition of it -- one definition of it is simply the looking at human activity as being very superior. Looking at human activity as being highly significant and important in society and in history. If you remember when we talked about the Middle Ages and we were looking at that document where we [Inaudible], and I was I was trying to make the point about community being so important, more important than the individual, and human activity is only for divine purposes is basically the medieval way of thinking. What Burckhardt's complaining about as superstitious and dark, is this idea that the human being is just part of the larger community, and the purpose of the community is to relate to God and to please God. Humanism, then, by definition, breaks away from that idea and is built on the idea of what human beings achieve -- in the secular sense achieve: Great thoughts, great states, you know, that kind of thing -- is what's really important. So anybody who's writing from that perspective or studying from that perspective is a humanist, and naturally many of us are looking at the classical documents, but many of them are also taking the ideas of the classical documents forward, I mean, out of their context, they're not just classicists, they're moving forward with it and applying it to the life they see at the time they're writing. So we'll see some examples of that. Now there's something else called "civic humanism" that I don't want you to confuse with this basic humanistic idea. Humanism is very broad, civic humanism is very specific. Civic humanism, I think I translate as city patriotism; I mean, it's small. It's related to the idea that your city -- your city/state is important and you owe it your loyalty.

>> Is it kind of like patriotism.

>> It's patriotism, and it's patriotism in a sense that's somewhat narrow. Yes? Go ahead, Ed. [Inaudible student comment]

>> Wait. That's two different questions. The -- I'm not sure I see either one of them though. I'm having trouble with both.

>> Because [inaudible], Australia, it's mandatory to vote, you have to vote.

>> Right. [Inaudible student comment]

>> That's the problem I'm having is both of those ideas have a collective element involved. Okay. In the case of democracy, it has to work as a functioning collective.

>> Right.

>> And I'm not seeing that with civic humanism. I'm seeing a here's your city/state and you're loyal to it because you are here. But the group -- if you look at the city/states themselves, so many of them are run like a little dictatorship, you know, that I'm having trouble making that leap. I'm having a different problem with [Inaudible] because utilitarianism, based on the greatest good for the greatest number, is also collectivist thinking. What we're looking at here is more individualistic, and it's almost -- it becomes almost obsessively individualistic. The heart of our ideas of individualism really can be traced to here. So I'd like to separate it from the collective theories if I can. Chris, you were going to say something.

[ Inaudible student comment ]

>> Okay. Okay. Well, I think maybe what you're both seeing here is a medieval hangover. You know, it's -- it's the -- you can't -- you don't -- a society cannot throw out all of its previous traditions as quickly as Burckhardt would like you to believe. There is still a communitarian feel to this. Especially for us, individualism has evolved so much since this time, that if we look back and hung out in medieval Florence, we might perceive it as being more collective. It's that -- in comparing it to what came before, it's highly individualistic. But perhaps if we look at it as we look at individualism now, it's looking more group-like, and I think maybe that's what we're seeing, because there is this idea -- as part of civic -- [Inaudible]. I think, in looking at, you know, how I belong to my city, why I'm loyal to my city, you do have that medieval collectivist mindset, or at least humanitarian mindset is still in there, it's still part of it. But the way these things are run is just so -- there's no participation that you get for your loyalty, you don't realize -- possibly, if you have enough money the right to fight for your city/state in private army. You get that, but we wouldn't consider that terribly individualistic, but it was -- it was novel at the time. Yes?

>> I think though, when you read, like, sections of the book and they're talking about public works projects and stuff, that sort of thing makes it seem more community oriented, but, I mean, especially I think in chapter [inaudible] other chapters, you're seeing a great -- I think there's a lot of individual contribution. And whereas before the individual contributions were military or political, now it's more of a social contribution, that I think you have to look at that as well as those contributions were more of something [inaudible]. But they were by individuals, and there was a focus on that individual's work.

>> Yes. Keep in mind that those individuals who were contributing to the community expected to be acknowledge for it. Yeah. Okay. So is that communitarian or individual? I mean, if somebody gives a bunch of money to a place and then expects to have their name on a plaque up on the wall, sure, that's communitarian. You're providing something for the community, you've built this hospital wing or whatever, but there's also, I think, having your name in big letters on the thing is -- that's very Renaissance, yeah. So I think that's a good balance [inaudible].

[ Inaudible student comment ]

>> Yeah. And I think what's interesting is that the rewards for doing that tend to be individually and almost familia, they're almost family oriented. I fought for this trend; therefore, my family is going move up.

>> I felt like the community thing was almost a justification because they want to be -- individuals want to be recognized themselves, but at the same time, they don't want to step on anyone's shoes --

>> And they aren't comfortable with individualism yet either. I mean, if it's a new thing, you still want one foot in that communitarian world, right, to be able to say, well, but the real reason I'm doing this is for the good of everybody. I mean, even the Roman emperors, I mean, if you go back to the classical example right, the Roman emperors did that stuff too. Remember Augustus getting up there and saying, "Oh, don't call me Emperor. No. No. I'm just First Citizen. I'm doing this for all of Rome." Okay, that sort of thing, there's definitely some of that here. And, yes, so you do have, I think, a balance, and it is a mistake, especially when you look at the art and you say, wow, all this cool Renaissance art. What are they painting? Primitive stuff. The Middle Ages doesn't die here. It's -- it's supplemented and there's a tension, I think, between the individualism and communitarianism that you're picking up on, rightly.

>> I just felt like in my paper, it's kind of like [Inaudible], like, do your own thing, but like do it to help your community and make it stronger.

>> That's right. That's right. And I think -- I think they're doing that on purpose. I mean, I think it's self-conscious that they're doing that. They're saying, we want to be like the Greek [Inaudible]. We want to be just like that. We want to be known for achievements. We want to go back to the pre-Christian stuff and pull out the good stuff and make it work. What you get then with these -- are these cities, of course, that become a really big deal and have their own armies and have people contributing, and have their artists and are actually vying with each other, you know, to get this artist to live here so that they can make our city look great and be great, people will visit. All the same motivations that we have now of, you know, fame and tourism and all those things are almost exactly the same. It's just, we would feel this communitarian [Inaudible] that we don't -- don't necessarily sense now. And that's how this -- that's how this occurred. So temper the individualism a little bit. I mean, it's important. It's significant. It's as significant or more so than it was in the classical past, but you're right, it is very much tempered with the communitarian goal and the collective thinking that would go along -- and some of the [inaudible] from the medieval church. And then, of course, you got this guy who -- who comes in on the individualistic side in a really heavy way, where I really can't see what we're saying about communitarian goals. I mean, Machiavelli is not saying be a prince so that everybody's happy. He's saying be a prince because it will make you great. It's completely disconnected from medieval communitarianism. And the examples he uses, I think, are really fun. It's interesting how many of these humanist authors go back to the Bible to find examples, and go back to classical history to find their examples, and sort of mix them up all together, like he does so -- I love that his examples are Moses; Cyrus The Great of the Persian Empire; Theseus the Greek leader; and Romulus, one of the supposed mythical founders of Rome, kind of bunched together as if they're all of equal weight in realty. He said if they'd been unarmed, they couldn't have enforced their constitution for law; in other words he's saying all these guys had military support and they knew how to use it -- as happened in our time, too. And he mentions Savaronola -- that's Savaronola, this is not Machiavelli. Machiavelli wrote the book, The Prince , on how to become a good prince. Any of you who are planning on getting a business degree, read this book because its advice on how to get and maintain power will be very useful to you. Similarly, anybody going into political science needs this book. Yes?

>> In The Prince , Machiavelli talks about crazy old Rome spit on modern Rome sort of thing. Like, to like the Romans, you have to hate the Catholic church in a way. I mean, is he an atheist?

>> The only place that God or religion is mentioned in the entire book is where he says, "If you want to be a good prince, you better go to church. And you'd better go to church so that people see you going to church because this kind of thing is very important to the people." That's it. I don't know about Machiavelli. Machiavelli had a really strong moral streak in him, and you can see it in his plays, but you can't see it in the book; not in this book. So I'm not sure about his particular -- it would be very unusual to be an atheist in this time. It would not be at all unusual to hate the Catholic Church. Yes?

[ Inaudible student comment]

>> Except it reads better.

>> Exactly. And, I mean, [inaudible], a lot of people hate him, or did they despise him, or really what he was doing is, I mean, obviously he was of some kind of caliber. He was just trying to garner favor [Inaudible].

>> Oh, yeah, and I'm not sure he even realized the kind of amoral statement he was making as he wrote it as this little advice book, you know, for princes. I'm not sure how intentional it was. It's come down through history as the ultimate amoral presentation of, you know, the means justify the ends; whatever it takes to get there, if your end is good -- and in this case, your end is to be a good prince -- then anything that happens along the way, go ahead and do it. You know, that kind of thing. It is intended as an advice book, and I think to have it come down in history this way and be applicable to so many -- that is not something Machiavelli really intended. Yes?

>> Well, I mean [Inaudible]. He said, you know, it's better to be feared than to be loved.

>> Yes, it is.

>> So, I mean, that's sort of immoral, right?

>> Yeah. But -- well, it's not so much immoral. You can be feared without committing heinous acts. In fact, a lot of the book is dedicated to showing how you can do just that. So I would prefer amoral to immoral, I think, with him. There simply is no consideration of morality whatsoever in this book. So it's sort of the ultimate individualistic experience here, and Savaronola I want to set up as sort of the opposite -- the ultimate in morality being significant. Yes?

>> I think it's also interesting because you mentioned that [Inaudible].

>> Right.

>> And, you know, the prince should be feared, because if he's not feared, then nothing will get done.

>> Right, nothing happens. It's inefficient.

>> [Inaudible] previous, in the fourteenth century had all those revolts of the peasants who were burning everything and everybody pointed their fingers and said, Ah ha! That's what's going to happen [Inaudible].

>> There's no control.

>> Exactly. And so you need a central figure or else chaos will happen.

>> Oh, yeah, okay. So I guess you can say there's a greater good involved and that the world will be more peaceful; and certainly in a dictatorship, things can be very peaceful. Whether that's a moral stand or not is -- again, Savaronola is -- he's old school and not old school. In some ways he's the innovator here as well. Do you remember him from the chapter? Savaronola? He was like this monk guy. He's the one -- have you ever heard the term "bonfire of the vanities"? You ever heard that term? It is this idea that -- he'd come into -- into an area and start preaching, okay. He was a monk, which means that he's somewhat independent of the Catholic Church, right? He's not a priest, he's not a bishop, he's not an archbishop, so he's free to do and say what he wishes, and the Church is not going to be able to do very much about it. He's not even a friar. He's got no business preaching in a town under the medieval standards. He's a nutty monk, but he decides as he looks around him in the Italian Renaissance and sees what's going on, that what's happening is immoral and that everything is being lived for vanity. Very commercial society, right. Very consumer society, and people buying things and decorating. You saw how Veronica Franco was dressed. I mean, it's very luxurious, luxurious fabrics and jewelry and stuff. And things being traded in from Asia, you know, with the Crusades having opened up the trade channels, Italy is profiting from that and people are wearing fancy clothes and buying more stuff than ever. The cities are becoming wealthier and wealthier. And as wealth increases, morality decreases, is how Savaronola sees it, and people are pulling away God; this individualistic stuff is wrong; this humanistic stuff is wrong; and he says it's time to repent. Okay. And he would gather people together. And he was obviously a very inspiring speaker because people would literally -- he would set up a bonfire in the town square, and people would come out of their homes and take their jewelry, their tiaras, and their bracelets and signs of wealth and fancy furniture and stuff and they'd throw it on the bonfire as a symbol of them rejecting this materialism of the Renaissance, you know, burning it all up and going back to God. So Savaronola had an extraordinary impact on ordinary people who participated in these things and went back to the God. The difficulty, of course, is that that has political implications as well. This is not just a threat. You start getting that kind of rapturous action going, and it is a political threat. And the political leaders in every city he went to came out against him, and, ultimately, he was -- he was destroyed. And that is what Machiavelli is referring to here. He says, "As happened in our time to Savaronola, who was ruined with his new order of things, immediately the multitude believed in him no longer." At the point where the crowd stopped bringing their vanities out and throwing them on the bonfire, at the point where people said, "Here comes that crazy monk. He's just making trouble and disturbing the peace," he lost his power. He had no authority behind him, he had no powerful group behind him. He just had a bunch of fans and enthusiasts for a while, and as soon as they were gone, his career was over. That's the kind of thing you want to avoid, says Machiavelli.

>> Another -- in The Prince , Machiavelli talks about leaders of new orders. Things like, the most dangerous thing to do is to be the leader of a new order that disrupts things and changes things like equilibrium. Was he killed?

>> Yes. Savaronola ends up being -- yeah. The -- that idea that it's dumb to be a leader of a new group has a lot to do with how people view history and how people view tradition. You -- you need to -- if you're going to do something new -- and you'll see this, particularly if you take History 104, you'll see this a lot. Revolutionary leaders need to have some sort of claim to the traditional past. They all need to say, "We're getting back to the basics." "We're getting back to the roots of civilization." "We're getting back to society." And if you're not doing that, then you're seen as being a leader of some fringe, crazy group at some point, and, historically, those groups get destroyed. So it's one thing to be in the vanguard and see things in a new way, but it's quite another to not have any ties to tradition, not being able to claim that what you are doing is trying to reclaim something that's important. Yes?

>> I think ultimately, though, Machiavelli was right, because, I mean, the biggest example I can think of is Robespierre in the French Revolution, and like he basically just threw everything [Inaudible]. Robespierre threw it out, like the Church, he renamed the monks, he renamed the days of the week. And if he hadn't died, [Inaudible] like three years [Inaudible].

>> Right. You go too far, too fast, right, it's not going to work. You start throwing away all the traditions, all the history, everything -- every mooring that people have, you're in trouble. Now, to a certain extent, in the same way, the Renaissance itself does that. I mean, if we want to make this even bigger, to a certain extent, what people who came out there and threw their stuff on the bonfires are responding to is a feeling that that's what's happening, is a feeling that all the old traditions are being thrown out; whereas if God is gone, if God is perceived as being gone during the Renaissance, where -- where are you? And they feel adrift. They feel as if all -- as the people felt under Robespierre, that the past was just being thrown out all around them. That's why Savaronola had a following for a while. And that feeling actually pervades the entire Renaissance. You can't see it as too radical. I should have brought in some music. If you listen to Renaissance music, it has this kind of sad quality to it as if -- an uncertainty to it. I mean, some of it's kind of jovial and around the campfire stuff, but a lot of it is this intense, you know, lost feeling that -- it's a little difficult to describe it, but it is there. So another -- another tangent to consider here. A couple of other concepts you just need to be familiar with from Renaissance thoughts and ideas because they stick around and they're still with us. One is this idea of the Renaissance man, which is still a term that's sometimes used to refer to people who are good at everything. Castiglione wrote a book called, The Courtier , saying what the good courtier should be able to do. And just -- here's an example of some of the things that he listed as being achievements of -- all in person now. They should be able to do all these things, dance and fight and do art and be a scholar and all of those things at the same time. His idea is kind of the ultimate in humanism, to be able to do and be everything that a human could possibly be. The other big idea that came about in formal philosophy was Pico della Mirandola's idea of the ladder of the creation. This idea that -- that lesser beings -- animals, rocks, you know, lesser things -- are down lower on the ladder and that human beings are higher on the ladder. And he's a good example because he refers to God as the great artisan and he does talk about him. He's not dismissing God and Christianity like Machiavelli is. What he's saying is God has created man to be the greatest creature and, of course, there's biblical things you could cite to show that, right. But he says, you know, "all other things, like animals, rocks, plants, have a limited and fixed nature prescribed and bounded by our laws," so this is like God talking. "You, with no limit or bound, may choose for yourself the limits and bounds of your nature. Man has been created freer than anything else on earth and, therefore, can achieve anything he wants to achieve." That's like a -- that's like the Renaissance in a nutshell.

>> What does "man" really mean?

>> He means people. He means mankind, people can achieve this. So because we're not made of heavenly stuff like the angels or earthly stuff like the animals, we're neither mortal or immortal because we die, but our ideas live on, all right. So we're neither mortal or immortal. We can make of ourselves whatever we want to. That has become so engrained in Western thinking. It's the heart of individualism, it's the heart of how all of us think about ourselves. We -- if we have bad conditions, you know, poverty, those kinds of things -- if we can overcome the conditions, then there's nothing to stop us from being whatever we want to be. Just like the big idea of Western civilization and Pico kind of puts it all together very nicely. So he's definitely a Renaissance guy. Again, we can see humanism everywhere we look in the Renaissance. Architecture is just one example. If you remember those big gothic churches of the Middle Ages, they're absolutely huge. They pull your body up when you go into them. They're enormous, they're overwhelming. The light comes in. They take centuries to build. The entire community has to participate in their building. Here in the Renaissance, we get plenty of churches being built, but they are on a much more human scale. They're not just smaller, they're friendlier; they're places where a human being can sit down and talk with God. Instead of being like a Romanesque church where human beings are encouraged when you come in by the environment to sort of, you know, bend your head and pray quietly in the darkness; instead of the Gothic cathedrals where you're encouraged to be part of all of humanity, lined up to God; here it's much more like, you know, a meeting. You're having a meeting with God. Human scale. A lot of great architecture. I just chose Brunellschi because he built some of the most incredible churches of the Renaissance; constructed -- all three of these are his design. But you can see it's much, much smaller and not -- I don't know what else to call it except, you know, "flying up in the air." It's not -- the whole thing isn't as vertical and that suggests that maybe the relationship between a human being and God isn't as vertical either, okay, you can talk. So in addition to mysticism, which we looked at during the late Medieval section, you can add to that this more humanistic aspect of religion with a physical representation here, and piece together the roots of [inaudible] comes the reformation, because it's really not just about ideas, it's also about space and the relationship between you and God. Hard to see the colors on that. They're beautifully colored inside. It's not all this white marble [inaudible] inside and out, which, of course, was classical, too. The Greeks did that, too, painted everything inside. [Inaudible] The big deal about the Renaissance for artists and people who liked looking at art is the extraordinary change in style which was the result of linear perspective, which is talked about in your book. I wanted to make sure that we understand where these ideas of linear perspective come from because I don't want you to see them as this -- as this European thing that all of a sudden these artists figure out how to do this. This comes from the Arabs. Like most of the classical knowledge that had been lost in Europe, all of those classical texts about science, medicine, optics -- how the eye works -- all of those things were worked on by Greek and Hellenistic philosophers. And those works that ended up in the era of empires, like the Abbasid caliphs of the eighth and ninth centuries in Baghdad, and so they had been worked on -- many of these ideas, [Inaudible], translated into Arabic, studied, practical studies, creation of hospitals that had special eye units and wards for people with eye problems -- they studied all of this stuff, and as a result, it's actually the work of "Alhazen" they called him in Europe from the tenth and eleventh centuries, that create an understanding of how the eye actually puts together what it sees. And that understanding informs the creation of the linear perspective they talked about in your chapter. Yeah?

>> I mean, did Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle really disappear from Europe altogether because that's the way [inaudible] make it seem.

>> I know.

>> Completely gone and it goes to the Middle East, and that's where it's preserved, and [Inaudible].

>> Where it's found is among the scholastics. If you remember the scholastics, a lot of the monasteries and churches and cathedral schools had the only exact copies of a lot of that. So during the Middle Ages, it's held -- that knowledge is held really in two places: Inside the church itself where ordinary people could not possibly access it. And that's where you have, occasionally, some innovative Abbots having the monks do some rewriting so the books don't fall apart. So a lot of that pagan stuff is just stored in the -- in the monastery, and comes out again later with people getting the information back in from the Arabs and saying, wait a minute. Don't we have a book kind of like this. Aristo -- we've got something by this guy. And making the connection. So, yeah, I'm afraid it is kind of true that a lot of it ends up in Arab hands, retranslated, restudied, advanced, and then comes back in in that format before they start digging up what they've got in the monasteries. This is one of the things that they rediscover. But it has advanced way beyond the classical understanding of how optics work, and they use it to create the vanishing point; which, if you've taken art or draw, you'll understand what that is and the way that the eye works and how you construct a scene to make it look realistic. Now, looking realistic was not a thing with Gothic painters. If you go back to the Middle Ages, looking realistic was not the point. In fact, if you look at a painting, for example, of people on the street, and maybe there's some angels above, and maybe God's up there somewhere, which would be sort of your typical Gothic picture -- ordinary people, angels, God, some sort of, you know, like a pyramid, that idea, it's all over all the Gothic cathedrals. Sometimes the people are drawn really tiny and the angels are drawn really big and God's drawn really, really big, that kind of thing. Or you'll see the important people in society are drawn really big and the people who aren't as important are drawn really small; and we look at that and we say, you know, they didn't know how to draw, you know. People further away look smaller. It's not like some people are bigger than other people. Well, they were drawing -- one historian had said that they were drawing them based on their theological sizes, not their actual size; how important they are to God is how big they are. Angels are more important than people so the angels are bigger. In other words, they had different priorities. It wasn't just that they didn't know how to draw things properly. I can see -- I can look out there and say, okay, Ron looks smaller to me than Eddie. I know Ron's not smaller, but he looks smaller because of, you know, I can see that. That's empirical. But the understanding of how that works and why, will only inform my picture that I draw, if that's what I'm trying to build is a realistic view of Ron and Eddie, from my perspective. So they got into that. They wanted it to look realistic so they figured out how to make it look that way using the science of the day because that's what they wanted to do. That's why some of the pictures look so cool to us because they have this perspective. This one is hard to see, I need to turn the lights down. This picture brings so much about the Renaissance period all together in one picture. But it's hard to see. It's hard to see in real life, too, because it's a fresco, and the fresco's kind of faded. In fresco you mix the paint actually with the plaster on the wall. Masaccio's "Trinity" has Jesus on the cross, God holding the cross, and up there somewhere can you, see it? There's a ghostly bird. The Trinity is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit's up there as kind of a ghostly bird. He's hard to find though, especially in this one, because this is how it really looks. The hasn't been restored or redone. You've got two saints there, at the -- at the feet of Jesus, but then you've got these two other people who are kneeling. Who do you figure they are?

>> [Inaudible]

>> Yes. They're the wealthy people -- exactly, who hired Masaccio to paint the painting. Okay. What are they doing in the painting? Were they actually there at the time?

>> No.

>> No. So what are they doing there?

>> Getting their money's worth.

>> Get their money's worth. Absolutely. Because the ultimate in Renaissance individual -- I paid for the damn picture, I'm in it. Okay. Exactly. And then showing themselves praying, right? Because they want to show themselves as being what?

>> Pious.

>> Pious. They're pious people. They're good people. They're moral people. They're -- they are praying at the feet of God, which is important. But then what's this stuff?

>> Bones?

>> Yeah. What do we call that?

>> Memento mori.

>> The memento mori, thank you. The memory of death pervading all the pictures also is in many of the Renaissance works as well. Less so as the Renaissance goes on, less so as the fifteenth century goes on, but it's still here in this one, you know, in the 1420s when memento mori, you will die, and when you die, you're going to become bones and dust and be eaten by worms, and don't forget that. That's where you're headed. And it takes up a significant portion of picture, you know, to do that -- to do that at the bottom. So this picture brings in the memento mori, right, from the Middle Ages; it brings in the new Renaissance individualism. I'm in the picture because I paid for it, which also brings in all the commercial stuff. That's how they were able to pay for it because these are merchant class people. These aren't elite landholders; and then you've got -- you can see the linear perspective, there's a vanishing point, and it's made to look real as if it's a niche in the wall; almost as if you could walk up and into it, using all those optical techniques. That's why I like this picture because it takes -- and, of course, it's religious to the core. It's got all the elements of the Renaissance in one -- in one picture which is why it's my favorite Renaissance picture. Mona Lisa doesn't have one thing [inaudible]. But we do have to deal with these guys. "The David" is a symbol from the Bible, okay. What does David do in the Bible?

>> He beats Goliath.

>> He beats Goliath. So what? What's the moral? What's the big deal? What was Goliath?

>> A giant.

>> Huge! Yeah. He's a giant. He's enormous. So David kills him. So what? What -- took out a semi-automatic and did him in? What happened?

>> Threw a pebble at his head.

>> Threw a pebble at his head. He did it with a rock, okay; small compared to his enemy. You've got a guy who's got a lot of determination and a lot of courage, using an inferior weapon to down something much bigger and more powerful than himself. That's symbolic. So not surprisingly, city/states -- and Florence is the big one. Florence adopts David as its symbol because Florence was invaded from the outside by other powers and taken over and ruled. And time and time again they pushed them out. Sometimes they didn't push them out. The symbol is important to the city Florence, the symbol of "The David," the small guy who pushes out the big guy. And so as a result, "The David" is sculpted and painted over and over and over in Florence. So there's a big difference between the two of these, aren't there? Same character. Donatello's version here; Michelangelo's version there. What's the difference?

>> Material?

>> Yeah, the material itself is very different. You've got bronze versus marble.

[ Inaudible student comments ]

>> He's got a shield. He doesn't look as strong. He doesn't look as masculine. Yes?

>> More realistic.

>> Which one's more realistic?

>> The one on the left.

>> The one on the left is more real?

[ Inaudible student comments ]

>> I don't think realistic -- I don't think realistic is a good path there. They're both real -- they're both very real looking in that, you know, the shape of the body and the way the muscles are done and --

>> Donatello's is more, like, smooth. It doesn't have, like, the exact marble features --

>> Yeah. That's true. It also -- part of that's lighting, too, though.

>> [Inaudible]

>> Really? I know more guys that look like the one on the left than the one on the right.

[ Laughter ]

>> I think Michelangelo also drew the hands and feet larger and the head [Inaudible].

>> Yeah. Okay, well, they're completely different proportions, obviously, yeah. Completely different. And for different reasons, right. I mean, there's got to be something behind all of this. Go ahead, [inaudible].

>> The one on the left actually uses or represents the David but like an actual person because it seems like, with the, you know, the hat and the cane and something, it could actually be, like somebody around, too.

>> Yeah. I'm not sure whether either one was modeled for. But they have different uses. Let's look at this for a moment. They have completely different purposes. The one on the left was privately commissioned for a private collection. The one on the right was commissioned by the city for public display. Does that tell us anything?

>> The one on the right is much more [inaudible].

>> Yeah, he's almost god-like and more Greek and Roman looking for sure.

>> [Inaudible]

>> Yeah. The left's more like decoration. That's a good word, "decoration."

>> For someone's house.

>> For someone's house. It's for private enjoyment. Yes. It also brings out a characteristic, this kind of male/female androgynous. Are you catching any of that in the one on the left? The long hair, the hat, the pose, okay. The one on the left is deliberately androgynistic. Very, very classical. Both of them are extremely classical. I can find many examples of Greek sculptures that could back up either one. But this one is deliberately, you know, kind of undetermined. This young man, [inaudible], you see in one on the left. The one on the right is different. There's not as much of that classical [inaudible] thing going in the one on the right. You're right; the head's big, the hands are big, there's an idea of power and potential in the one on the right, and an idea more of sensuality maybe in the one on the left.

>> Is that supposed to be a live head he's standing on?

>> Is that a head or is that a shield?

>> I thought it was a head.

>> I can't tell because it looks like a shield from here.

>> I think it's a head.

>> Is it? Maybe so. The sword's an odd touch, isn't it? I mean, where's the slingshot? He's got the rock in his left hand but --

>> [Inaudible]

>> [Inaudible]. Yeah, he beaned him and then he took the sword and cut his head off, right. Okay. I'll buy that. So this is also before and after, isn't it? You think that the one on the right he has -- he hasn't met him yet?

>> Yeah.

>> And the one on the left, he's already fought; but the one on the right, potential for fighting.

>> I think there's a bit more action in this one, a bit more action in the left.

>> Yes, there is.

>> He's got that pose going on. He's got a very triumphant expression on his face, like [Inaudible].

>> Yeah, he's already done it.

>> Exactly. You know, like, ha, I beat you. The guy on the right is more reserved. He looks more like what you'd expect from a classical statue, the pose.

>> The pose is different.

>> [Inaudible]

>> The people who study this kind of thing -- and there are more of them than you would suppose -- say that what's important about this one, and why this one has become a symbol of the Renaissance, but that one hasn't so much, is because this one is looking into the future. Ah. And the Donatello one, like you say, he's already -- it's already happened. It's already done. A done deal. He's done. He's going to go have a drink now. But that this guy is -- the way he's looking, his head's up and the potential in his body -- he's -- he doesn't -- he's not in motion. He doesn't even look like he's about to move. He looks like he can move if he needs to. There's potential action without actual action, and that is symbolic of the Renaissance. The Florentines loved this. It was symbolic of Florence. You know, ready to act, not necessarily in action. So still like the classical pose, but with a potential to move. So that's why they use this one more than the other one. And this one has been reproduced a lot more than the other one and seen, obviously, a lot more because the first hundred or something years, the Donatello one, nobody saw it except the person who owned it so [inaudible]. Okay. We can't ignore the North. I'm giving them short shrift, just like your chapter did because the northern Renaissance, although important, becomes more important as it develops into something else in the next chapter. So we look at it briefly with everything on one slide. What we have here, the "Northern Renaissance" they call it, they also call it the "Christian Renaissance" -- either term is fine with me. Christian helps, I think, remind you of what's different; unlike the focus of the Italian Renaissance, which is, unintentionally for the most part, moving away from Christianity, the Northern Renaissance is consciously Christian. It's quite deliberate, dealing with those issues. So when Erasmus and Thomas More, two of the great Northern humanists criticize the Church, they're doing it from the perspective of people who have recovered their classicists original Bible -- original documents from the past, the Greek Bible -- and are seeing the extraordinary differences between the Greek Bible manuscripts that they have, and what the Roman Church has created, the Latin Vulgate Bible . So you've got guys who speak, read, and write Latin, Greek, in their vernacular, going through these old documents and creating new translations of Christian works, and thinking about how different what they're seeing is from the Roman Church [inaudible]. So you've got Church criticism. It's not that these guys are Protestants. They're not. In fact, when Protestantism comes, they're going to scream about it. It's that they're criticizing the Church the way it is and think it should be purified and made like it used to be. So Erasmus, for example, is criticizing the popes, saying if the popes actually did what they were supposed to do according to the Church itself, they'd be utterly miserable. Because what were the popes actually doing at this time? What were popes involved with during this timeframe?

>> Corruption.

>> Corruption. What were they up to? What were they actually doing?

>> Controlling people?

>> They were controlling people? Which people?

>> [Inaudible]

>> It's okay, since we saw that in the Middle Ages they were controlling kings. Were they controlling princes in Italy? Oh, yes. And some of them WERE princes in Italy, okay. The guy that Machiavelli wrote the book for was a son of a pope. That's -- now think about that sentence for a minute. The son of a pope. What's wrong with that sentence?

>> He has a son.

>> He has a son? They had sons. They had daughters. There were bastards running all over the papal palace.

[ Laughter ]They had mistresses who were just for them. There were brothels throughout Italy that were just for church guys; clergy only. Okay. All right. So the kind of corruption we're talking about here has been going on for so long that nobody really notices it anymore. You've got worldly bishops and worldly priests who can afford their own prostitutes and mistresses. You've got popes who have the children of those mistresses running around and becoming popes themselves. That kind of system. So he's saying, if they actually got back to business doing the pope thing, they'd be utterly miserable. I think -- I think we can agree with that and see why. Okay. All right, you have people like Thomas More who is writing about a communitarian vision in Utopia. In some ways, that's looking backward, right? Communitarian values are medieval. But in some ways, that's looking forward to a post-materialistic world where people could get past themselves and look around and create a better society. Yes, [inaudible]?

>> Are you saying like some of the popes were illegitimate sons of hookers?

>> Yeah. Well, not necessarily. Actually, there weren't any who were illegitimate sons of prostitutes, so far as I know. There were an awful lot of children who became princes or close to princes in that category, but there were popes who were not, you know, I guess they said -- in the eighteenth century, the phrase was "born on the wrong side of the blanket." Just put it that way. Let's just say, we have plenty of reason after the Babylonian Captivity and the Great Schism, to continue to see the popes a being something less than moral leaders. Yes. Okay. We'll put it that way. And some of these popes, you know, put on armor, you know, and led the armies for their city/state and -- I mean, this is not the sort of papal behavior we came to expect during the Middle Ages. It's true. And then the art, you can see a clear difference too with Duerer who is also mentioned in your chapter. Never forget that as the Black Death continues to come through Europe, it hits Italy. Italy actually experiences more -- the Mediterranean area actually experiences more of a warming trend that keeps the Black Death at lower levels, while the North is still slogging through the mud in Henry V, and as a result, when the plague comes through time and time again, it hits the north worse than the south. They talk about that in your chapter saying Italy recovers sooner, and it does. So a lot of the art still expresses these late medieval themes of death and horror and, you know, the decline of humanity. Even at the same time as they're being very innovative with the More and Erasmus.

[ Silence ]

==== Transcribed by Automatic Sync Technologies ====