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