The Hutchinson Encyclopedia of the Renaissance

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Naich, Hubert (c. 1513-AFTER 1546)

Flemish composer. He lived at Rome, where he was a member of the Accademia degli Amici. He published a book of madrigals there about 1540.

Naldini, Giovan Battista (c. 1537-1591)

Florentine painter. He was adopted by Pontormo with whom he studied disegno, before working with Giorgio Vasari on the decoration of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. His drawings were highly esteemed in his day for the bold use of contour line and were avidly collected. Although best known for his altarpieces in major Florentine churches such as Santa Maria del Carmine and Santa Maria Novella, he also visited Rome twice where he executed altarpieces and frescoes in the churches of Trinità dei Monti and San Giovanni Decollato.

Nanni di Banco (c. 1384-1421)

Florentine sculptor. He worked on several of the great civic commissions of 15th-century Florence. He remained independent of Donatello's sculptural innovations, using conservative techniques to create Classical imagery. His major work, commissioned for a niche at Orsanmichele, is Quattro Santi Coronati about 1413, a group of four Roman sculptors who were also Christian martyrs.

His relief Assumption ( 1414-21) over the Porta della Mandorla of Florence Cathedral prefigures Baroque style. But for an early death, his career might have rivalled Donatello's.

Nantes, Edict of

Decree by which Henry IV of France granted religious freedom to the Huguenots in 1598. It was revoked in 1685 by Louis XIV.

Naogeorgus, Thomas (THOMAS KIRCHMAIER) (1511-1563)

German polemical dramatist. A Protestant pastor, he used Latin drama as a vehicle for his Reformation polemic against the pope and the Catholic Church. His Pammachius ( 1538), representing the pope as Antichrist, is one of the best examples of this drama. It was acted in Cambridge in 1545.

Mercator ( 1540) is an Everyman play. The many plays that followed were less successful. Naogeorgus also translated the tragedies of the Greek dramatist Sophocles into Latin.

Napier, John (1550-1617)

8th Laird of Merchiston, Scottish mathematician who invented logarithms in 1614 and 'Napier's bones', an early mechanical calculating device for multiplication and division.

It was Napier who first used and then popularized the decimal point to separate the whole number part from the fractional part of a number.

Napier was born in Merchiston Castle, near Edinburgh, and studied at St Andrews. He never occupied any professional post.

English mathematician Henry Briggs went to Edinburgh in 1616 and later to discuss the logarithmic tables with Napier. Together they worked out improvements, such as the idea of using the base ten.

Napier also made advances in scientific farming, especially by the use of salt as a fertilizer. In 1597 he patented a hydraulic screw by means of which water could be removed from flooded coal pits.

Napier published a denunciation of the Roman Catholic Church, A Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of St John ( 1593), as well as Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Descriptio/Description of the Marvellous Canon of Logarithms ( 1614) and Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Constructio ( 1619). In Rabdologiae ('numeration by little rods') ( 1617) he explained his mechanical calculating system and showed how square roots could be extracted by the manipulation of counters on a chessboard.

Nardi, Jacopo (1476-1563)

Florentine political figure and historian. A committed republican, he held various offices after the exiling of


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