By Walter Pater
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Pater's sleek essays talk about the achievements of Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and different artists. The booklet concludes with an uncompromising advocacy of hedonism, urging readers to event existence as absolutely as attainable. His cry of "art for art's sake" turned the manifesto of the classy stream, and his exams of Renaissance artwork have stimulated generations of readers.
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Extra info for The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry (Dover Books on Art, Art History)
It was in another spirit that he composed a Platonic commentary, the only work of his in Italian which has come down to us, on the “Song of Divine Love”—secondo la mente ed opinione dei Platonici—“according to the mind and opinion of the Platonists,” by his friend Hieronymo Beniveni, in which, with an ambitious array of every sort of learning, and a profusion of imagery borrowed indifferently from the astrologers, the Cabala, and Homer, and Scripture, and Dionysius the Areopagite, he attempts to define the stages by which the soul passes from the earthly to the unseen beauty.
But it was inevitable that from time to time minds should 30 PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA arise, deeply enough impressed by its beauty and power to ask themselves whether the religion of Greece was indeed a rival of the religion of Christ; for the older gods had rehabilitated themselves, and men’s allegiance was divided. And the fifteenth century was an impassioned age, so ardent and serious in its pursuit of art that it consecrated everything with which art had to do as a religious object. The restored Greek literature had made it familiar, at least in Plato, with a style of expression concerning the earlier gods, which had about it much of the warmth and unction of a Christian hymn.
1872. 29 PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA No account of the Renaissance can be complete without some notice of the attempt made by certain Italian scholars of the fifteenth century to reconcile Christianity with the religion of ancient Greece. To reconcile forms of sentiment which at first sight seem incompatible, to adjust the various products of the human mind to each other in one many-sided type of intellectual culture, to give humanity, for heart and imagination to feed upon, as much as it could possibly receive, belonged to the generous instincts of that age.