Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World (Hinges of History)
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In Volume VI of his acclaimed Hinges of History series, Thomas Cahill guides us through a time so full of innovation that the Western world would not again experience its like until the twentieth century: the new humanism of the Renaissance and the radical religious alterations of the Reformation.
This was an age in which whole continents and peoples were discovered. It was an era of sublime artistic and scientific adventure, but also of newly powerful princes and armies—and of unprecedented courage, as thousands refused to bow their heads to the religious pieties of the past. In these exquisitely written and lavishly illustrated pages, Cahill illuminates, as no one else can, the great gift-givers who shaped our history—those who left us a world more varied and complex, more awesome and delightful, more beautiful and strong than the one they had found.
Protestant contemporaries. “To be right in everything” is often the tone reformers wish to strike, whether they admit it explicitly or not; and a profoundly neurotic fear of Hell and its power haunts the nightmares of leaders on both sides of the widening divide. 1525?–1569: THE ICE IS MELTING When it comes to making pictures of sixteenth-century life, no one is more bold or more subtle than Pieter Bruegel, the Dutchman who more than any other captured for us the look and feel of ordinary
truth,” which led to their parting. Bruegel was not niggardly with the truth. The longer he worked, the further he seemed to move away from his early, Bosch-like visions, his images becoming simpler, his scenes less crowded with alien forms. But he never lost his flair for suggesting that the real world is as full of odd, even nightmarish realities as are our dreams. Beekeepers (facing page), a drawing he made twelve years after Big Fish, is, though much pared back visually, full of the feeling
who in such beguiling and awesome spectacles as A Trip to the Moon was the first to experiment with film’s fantastic capacity for trick photography. What film has never been especially good at, however, is extending the experience of live theater. The first printed book was a Bible, impressed in a language intelligible only to educated Europeans. To those few who took note of what Gutenberg was up to, his must have seemed a commendably pious effort, a more efficient way of doing what had always
The Birth of Venus seems so straightforward in its intention and so complete in its execution that it scarcely calls for commentary. Long ago I had a rather batty classics professor who always referred to this picture as Venus on the Half Shell, as if that were its actual title. It might as well be. The psychological connection between sex and food has never been more blatant. Venus is being served to us by chef Botticelli as the most exquisite morsel of his imagination. The face of Venus draws
churchmen 168 were unable to recite all ten commandments and thirty-one couldn’t say for sure whose commandments they were. Forty churchmen were unable to repeat the Lord’s Prayer in full in English, nor would they speculate as to who the author of the prayer might be. In one encounter with a fellow priest, Tyndale kept insisting on the authority of the Bible rather than that of the pope. His frustrated interlocutor exclaimed finally that we’d all be “better without God’s law than the pope’s!”