November 2016

Art was never my strong suit. I’m sure when my middle school teacher saw my sticks and circles representing a human figure she wondered how the Renaissance movement ever took place in Italy. I didn’t do the Italians any favors with my creative achievements. I’ve gone on to do some wondering myself. Why did the Italians use a French word to describe an Italian movement? The Italian word Rinascimento better suits a revival of art and literature – an age of discovery. Renaissance means rebirth and the French used it to describe a revival of architecture of ancient Italian ruins. Art and literature came later. Whatever the case, Italy gets credit for the age of discovery which, I believe, started in the northern portion of Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries, not in Sicily with my paisans. These were times approaching the explorations of Columbus and the masters: Michelangelo, DaVinci, Raphael, and Masaccio. The Medici family of Florence were patrons of the arts as was the father of Political Science, Machiavelli. No question, the Rinascimento began and flourished in Florence and the upper class connected ancient glory to our Italian culture. The wealth of Italy and Florence led the Rinascimento as they endowed the churches, artists and highly imaginative people and powered the inventive, exploratory aspects of the Rinascimento. The great advances of the Rinascimento were a turning point in the western culture and a great gift to the world from Italy.