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  With genius, leadership, and grit, Filippo Brunelleschi raised true artists

  to the rank of sublime creators, worthy of eternal praise in the company

  of the saints, an image that would dominate the Renaissance.

  In fact, he paved the way for the cultural and social revolutions of the

  Renaissance itself, through his complex synthesis of inspiration and

  analysis, his bold reworking of the classical past to the needs and

  aspirations of the present. Once complete, Santa Maria del Fiore was

  decorated by artists like Donatello, Paolo Uccello, and Luca Della Robbia,

  making it both the birthplace and the proving ground of the Renaissance.

  Brunelleschi’s dome still rises from the terra-cotta sea of Florence’s roof

  tiles, itself terra-cotta clad yet harmoniously proportioned, like a Greek

  goddess in homespun. It is mountainous yet strangely buoyant, as if the

  white marble ridges rising to its apex are ropes holding a zeppelin to

  Earth. Somehow Brunelleschi captured freedom in stone, exalting the

  Florentine skyline ever after with an upward-yearning embodiment of

  the human spirit.

  Tom Mueller is author of the recently published Extra Virginity: The Sublime and

  Scandalous World of Olive Oil. Dave Yoder is a photographer and National Geographic

  explorer based in Milan.

  Having read this particular article in a copy of the National Geographic

  magazine, I was reminded of having seen this excellent PBS take on the

  subject of Cosimo Medici and his influence on the birth of the Renaissance. 

  [IT] was of course the genius of Brunelleschi, which would spark an

  architectural revolution across Europe, having been sponsored by

  Cosimo de'Medici and the Medici Family Bank. Innovation and

  ambition went hand in hand as the genius invented perspective and

  in so doing revolutionised ART and established our species modern

  way of looking, as well as the way ME•WE SEE the NATURE of LIFE

  in all of [IT]'s magnificent grandeur. 


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Comment by Michael Grove on March 3, 2023 at 11:34

Leonardo da Vinci was a Renaissance genius. Not only did he paint masterpieces of art, but he was an obsessive scientist and inventor, dreaming up complex machines centuries ahead of his time, including parachutes, armored tanks, hang gliders, and robots. On the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death, with the help of biographer Walter Isaacson, NOVA investigates the secrets of Leonardo’s success.

How did his scientific curiosity, from dissections of cadavers to studies of optics, shape his genius and help him create perhaps the most famous painting of all time, the "Mona Lisa"? (Premiered November 13, 2019)

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