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Articles on Renaissance

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A sculpture of two saints meeting and embracing embodies the importance of touch in Renaissance culture as a form of devotion and ultimately a way to access the divine. (Renaissance Polychrome Sculpture in Tuscany database)

Belief in touch as salvation was stronger than fear of contagion in the Italian Renaissance

After a year of pandemic social distancing, we know touch is a much-desired privilege. In the Italian Renaissance, people longed to touch not only each other, but also religious sculptures.
Six Tuscan Poets by Giorgio Vasari, 1544. Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Petrarch, Cino da Pistoia, Guittone d'Arezzo and Guido Cavalcanti are depicted in the oil painting. Wikimedia/MIA

How a lost manuscript revealed the first poets of Italian literature

The history of Italian literature cannot be understood without the vernacular poets. But their works were largely unknown until Lorenzo ‘the Magnificent’ sent a gift to the Prince of Naples.
‘The Queens Closet Opened,’ first published in 1655, shared recipes and support for the deposed monarchy. Here, portrait of Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria, by Anthony van Dyck, 1632. (Arcidiecézní muzeum Kroměříž/Wikimedia)

Cooking in the coronavirus crisis is much more fun with old secrets from the Queen’s pantry

Recipe sharing is all the rage in the pandemic as in other times of turmoil. English cookbooks of the 16th and 17th centuries promised recipes for comfort with a dash of glamour.
From cats to dragonflies, Leonardo sketched scores of animals. Leonardo da Vinci/Royal Collection Trust

Leonardo da Vinci saw in animals the ‘image of the world’

Rather than prioritizing human beings at the pinnacle of the animal kingdom, Leonardo revered all living beings. When he compared people and animals, it’s the animals that often came out on top.

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