Tuesday, July 02, 2013


The Renaissance

Bernard Berenson (1865-1959), One Year's Reading for Fun (1942) (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1960), p. 48 (7 April; footnote omitted):
A tendency in Osservatore Romano and in Giovanni Papini's organs to Christianize the Renaissance. It is based on a confusion which it is hard to believe due to ignorance or stupidity only. As a movement, the Renaissance was not Christian and cannot possibly be Christianized. On the other hand as a period, the Italian quattrocento was overwhelmingly Catholic, even pietistic, and given to revivalism of an almost American-Negro emotionalism. Think of Vincent Ferrer, who was active in Italy as well as in Spain and in the south of France, of San Bernardino, of Giovanni da Capistrano, and of numberless others. A movement of a cultural kind seldom affects even one per cent of a population. I am sure that during the Renaissance few Italians were aware of it as a separate event.
Id., p. 50 (12 April; footnote omitted):
Finished Voigt with no end of grateful appreciation, and began Burckhardt's Kultur der Renaissance, the which also I had not read in fifty years. Very brilliant from the very start, but find some faults as I did then. It subsumes too much time for certain characteristics. What may be true for 1400 is no longer so for 1450 or utterly false for 1500. Yet it is all Renaissance. Startling things recounted in a few pages produce the impression of having taken place continually and everywhere, whereas then, as always, life dragged on in a relatively slow, quiet fashion.

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