A sumptuary law passed in Florence in 1356 forbade servant women to wear buttons above the elbow. Stella Mary Pearce uses this as a window through which the state of mind of Florence, not only towards buttons and servant girls, but also towards the highly-complicated phenomenon of emergent humanism might be examined.
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Borgias, the most notorious family in Renaissance Italy. Famed for their treachery and corruption, the Borgias produced two popes during their time of dominance in Rome in the late 15th century. The most well-known of these two popes is Alexander VI, previously Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia. He was accused of buying votes to elect him to the papacy and openly promoted his children in positions of power. Rodrigo's daughter, Lucrezia, is widely remembered as a ruthless poisoner; his son, Cesare, as a brutal soldier.
Murder, intrigue and power politics characterised their rule, but many of the stories now told about their depraved behaviour and evil ways emerged after their demise and gave rise to the so-called 'Black Legend'. The sullied reputation of the Borgia dynasty endures even today and their lives have provided a major theme for plays, novels and over forty films.
A dissertation on the role of the Medici
This paper looks at the Medici family’s rise to power and control over Florence. The main focus of the paper is on Cosimo de’ Medici, who is the man responsible for bringing his family to power. The first chapter looks at his business and familial connections and the ways that these relationships helped him gain power. The second chapter examines Cosimo’s role as patron of the arts and learning and the ways in which this helped to extend his influence. The third chapter looks at Cosimo’s grandson Lorenzo de’ Medici and the ways in which he continued the dominance of the Medici family in Florence, specifically focusing on his role as patron and how
he took after his grandfather.
A very good introduction to the state of Italy in terms of warfare in the C15th
Not required reading but worth dipping into if you want to expand your Renaissance knowledge with some current thinking
The book takes the works that Michelangelo produced for the Florentine Republic between 1501 and 1506 as a case study in an artist’s engagement with art’s political function. That function had become a topic of debate by the late fifteenth century, witnessed by a decline of artistic commissions and the burning of existing works of art. That debate was part of an organized campaign to reverse Florentine culture in the eighteen years after the expulsion of the Medici in 1494 – also the years in which older scholarship locates the origins of High Renaissance art.