da Vinci

1452 - 1519

 Renaissance Art Map
     Leonardo da Vinci - biography
     Leonardo da Vinci
     1452-1481 Leonardo in the Florence of the Medici    
     1482-1499 At the court of Ludovico il Moro    
     1500-1508 The return to Florence    
     1508-1513 The Milan of Charles d'Amboise    
     1513-1519 The last years: Rome and France    



Leonardo da Vinci
c. 1512




The return to Florence




The republic of Savonarola


When Leonardo returned to Tuscany, Florence was no longer ruled by the Medici. On the death of Lorenzo (1492) the invasion of Italy by Charles VIII upset the balance of power among the Italian states. In Florence, after Lorenzo the Magnificent's son had been expelled, a Republic was proclaimed led by the Dominican monk from Ferrara, Girolamo Savonarola, previously invited by Lorenzo at the request of Pico della Mirandola. The ensuing period of social and moral austerity determined new directions in the arts: a new genre of sacred painting took hold, as practised by Lorenzo di Credi, Perugino, Mariotto Albertinelli, and Fra Bartolomeo. The late style of Botticelli also reflected the penitential overtones of the "bonfire of the vanities": abandoning his classical manner, the painter turned with growing emotionalism to religious and allegorical subjects, breaking up compositional rhythms and exaggerating figurative gestures. Excommunicated by Alexander VI Borgia in 1497 as "the instrument of the devil and ruin of Florence", Savonarola was burned at the stake the following year in the Piazza della Signoria. The event is commemorated by a pavement inscription.

Giovanni delle Corniole, Savonarola,
Museo degli Argenti, Pitti Palace, Florence.


Anonymous 19th-century artist,
from a late 15th-century painting,
The Execution of Savonarola
, Galleria Corsini, Florence.
Among Savonarola's writings were the poems
De ruina mundi
(1472) and De ruina ecdesiae (1475),
the Trattato divoto e utile delle umilta (1491),
the Trattato dello amore di Cristo (1492),
the Libra delta vita viduale (1495),
and the Triumphus crucis,
published in Latin and in the vernacular (1497).


Mariotto Albertinelli,
Certosa del Galluzzo, Florence.
A pupil of Cosimo Rosselli, Mariotto ran a workshop with Fra Bartolomeo from whom he derived his taste for classical monumentality.
The feeling for symmetry, the grandeur of scale, and the sensitivity to color link him to Perugino and Piero di Cosimo.



Sandro Botticelli, Pieta, c.1495, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.
This painting, from the Florentine church of San Paolino,
is an example of the tendency of the late Botticelli to overemphasize the gestures and expressions of his figures;
by this time the influence of Savonarola had alienated Botticelli from Neo-Platonic and humanist culture.


Fra Bartolomeo, Tondo of Madonna and Child,
Private Collection.
A prime exponent of (he High Renaissance pictorial style in Florence, Baccio della I'orta, known as Fra Hartolomeo, inherited Irom Leonardo a talent lor harmoniously intertwined figures. A devoted follower of the deas of Savonarola, and Irom 1500 a Dominican friar, he then formed a workshop with Albertinelli, modelling his work on Roman ind Venetian examples.


Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy