The poetic veil: fables, philosophy and the shaping of the Renaissance

Dana Jalobeanu

(Edgar Wind, Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance, Penguin Books, 1967)

Image result for wind pagan mysteries in the renaissanceImagine a course which combines, in an imaginative manner, philosophy, art history, literature and a lot of discussions about how to see and understand famous painting. Imagine looking at beautiful paintings — by Boticelli, Raphael and Pierro della Francesca – and learning how to look and what to search for in them.

Take, for example, Boticelli’s Primavera, one of the most celebrated paintings of all time. How shall we look at it? What is the relation between the various groups of figures represented in the painting? There are two “triads” represented on canvas: on the left, the three graces engaged in a seraphic dance. On the right hand side, another dynamic group of three figures: Zephyr, the nymph Chloris, and Flora, the goddess of the spring. In the center, still, quiet (and fully dressed) Venus, more like a “goddess of moderation,” than like the figure we all know (from other Renaissance’s paintings). Above all, Cupid, caught in flight, points his arrow to the dance of the graces. How are we to “read” this strikingly dynamic painting? What do we need to decipher the complex and eclectic mixture of symbols? Continue reading The poetic veil: fables, philosophy and the shaping of the Renaissance

Marsilio Ficino’s vision of renovatio between politics and theology

Dana Jalobeanu

(Sophia Howlett, Marsilio Ficino and his world, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

If you are new in the field, or simply not up to date with the new trends in Ficinian studies, this is the place to begin. Sophia Howlett offers a clearly written and daring revisionist story of Renaissance; one set to deconstruct most of our cherished myths. Based on a wide survey of the recent (and less recent) scholarship, Marsilio Ficino and his world tells an alternative story to the celebrated fairy tale of the Platonic Academy of Florence and the recovery of Plato’s works in Western Europe. Continue reading Marsilio Ficino’s vision of renovatio between politics and theology