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Centers of Progress: Florence (Art)

https://www.humanprogress.org/centers-of-progress-pt-13-florence-art/

humanprogress.org

Centers of Progress: Florence (Art)

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Historical Significance Of Florence, Italy

Historical Significance Of Florence, Italy

Known as the ‘Jewel Of Italian Renaissance’, the city of Florence has countless groundbreaking developments, seeing advances in politics, finance, business, engineering, philosophy, science, architecture, and artistic creativity. The 15th century CE, the golden age of Florence saw many historic art projects, even after a pandemic killed half of the city’s population.

Currently, Florence is the capital of Tuscany, Italy, and its most populous. The breathtaking scenery and long history make it one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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The Story Of Florence: The Renaissance City

Now a fashion city, Florence was initially well-known for woollen cloth, creating a central marketplace for the best-quality wool, cleaned to perfection.

The success of the fabric business made the Florentines rich, leading to new financial breakthroughs and innovations, like bank loan facilities, which further enhanced the city’s wealth.

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Wealthiest City In Europe

Innovative banking practices like bills of exchange (to facilitate-out-of-city payments) and double-entry bookkeeping, along with the flourishing cloth industry made Florence the wealthiest city in Europe.

The city, flush with wealth, started to focus on art, humanism, creation, enjoyment of life’s pleasures, and intellectual pursuits. It framed itself as ‘The New Rome’ and was a true Renaissance city due to it’s elevated and classist thinking that offered freedom, prosperity and knowledge.

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Literature And Art In Florence

Literature And Art In Florence

Some of the most influential educational treatises like ‘On the Manners Of A Gentleman And Liberal Studies’ was written in Florence in the 15th century. Many other literary masterpieces like ‘The Human Comedy’ (by Giovanni Boccaccio) or ‘The Divine Comedy’ by the greatest poet of the city, Dante Alighieri made the city an intellectually rich place.

The celebrated artist Michelangelo was also in Florence in his early days as a painter.

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Florence During The Plague

In 1348, the bubonic plague swept through Italy, and killed almost half of the city’s population, creating widespread loss and disruption.

Yet the city bounced back and entered its golden age in the next century. Many wealthy families understood art and supported Renaissance artists during difficult times.

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The People Of Florence

Around the 15th Century, Florence was fortunate to have:

  1. Polymath Leonardo Da Vinci, the quintessential Renaissance Man.
  2. The artists Raphael and Michelangelo.
  3. The sculptor Donatello.
  4. The writer of ‘The Prince’, Niccolò Machiavelli.
  5. The explorer Amerigo Vespucci.
  6. The artist Andrea del Verrocchio, mentor of Da Vinci.
  7. Sandro Botticelli, another great artist.
  8. The first modern engineer and father of Renaissance architecture, Filippo Brunelleschi.

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The Iconic Paintings Created In Florence

The advanced methods used by creators and artists of Florence(like the four canonical techniques of drawing to produce depth and 3D effects) gave birth to the following masterpieces:

  • Birth of Venus, Primavera and Venus and Mars by Botticelli.
  • Creation of Adam by Michelangelo.
  • The School of Athens by Raphael.
  • The Last Supper and The Virgin of the Rocks by Da Vinci.

Not to mention Da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa, a portrait of a Florentine merchant’s wife, which is the most famous painting in the world.

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