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My Renaissance


On the eve of the Summer Solstice, we pay homage to the Light. For me, the past few weeks immersing myself in Italian Renaissance painting and painters have been enlightening indeed. And refreshing. What grandeur! What noble humanism! What drama! What spectacular wealth!

What a breath of Energy is its Spirit!

Oh, it's easy to romanticize that important period, for sure, especially from the vantage of our current dank and dangerous age. Sure, they had their popes and potentates, some beneficient,

some cruel.. and they did have the Folly that Erasmus praised.

And Luther's 95 theses (1 ) which caused such a ruckus and a rumble.

Thirty Years War, Black Death, and so on. And only about the top 10 % even noticed the rebirth,

or had the time and money to enjoy its many benefits.

But they lived splendidly, not to say extravagently, and surrounded themselves with, well, Beauty. Classical Greco-Roman beauty , as reinterpreted, reimagined, adapted for their times. And no end to the Madonnas, usually with ugly bables, and bloody Bible stories.

Say what you will, Art in Italy (painting, sculpture, architecture) flouresced 1400-1600-- flourished and flowered the highest and best, according to many We stern European Art commentators. And who am I to doubt it? That being the case, I might as well spend my time rummaging and ruminating, learning what I can about it. Mght be uplifting, enobling,

And indeed, in my immersion to date, I;ve been humbled by my shocking ignorance of European history and cutlure, but excited to approach it entirely fresh, innocent of any courses in Art History or Appreciation.

(Whatever I knew about the European Renaissance from Humanities and Historical Studies, mandatory freshman classes at Grinnell. Uh... 60 years ago now. Yikes.)

My goal, as I discovered well along the way, was not a scholarly one, not "literary", not conceptual. What I wanted was to enhance my visual memory so I could do better on the

art quizzes John and I do.

I wanted to be able to "see" paintings from artists and titles, dates, etc.

Just today, I manifested a scheme that does that for me. It's been a good day


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