Renaissance Princes, Popes, and Prelates: The Vespasiano Memoirs, Lives of Illustrious Men of the XVth Century

Renaissance Princes, Popes, and Prelates: The Vespasiano Memoirs, Lives of Illustrious Men of the XVth Century

Renaissance Princes, Popes, and Prelates: The Vespasiano Memoirs, Lives of Illustrious Men of the XVth Century

Renaissance Princes, Popes, and Prelates: The Vespasiano Memoirs, Lives of Illustrious Men of the XVth Century

Excerpt

In March, 1895, Ludwig von Pastor, the historian of the papacy, came to Basel to visit Jacob Burckhardt, the historian of the Italian Renaissance. The latter was then an old man and Pastor was interested to inquire into the genesis of his famous essay, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, published in 1860. In the conversation that followed, Burckhardt, brushing aside a suggestion that his inspiration had been due to his travels in Italy and also to his earlier description of Italian works of art, recalled that the first idea for his great book had come to him in Rome in 1847 on reading a copy loaned to him of Vespasiano da Bisticci Lives of Illustrious Men. Thus is established by the most direct testimony the place of the Florentine bookseller's biographies in the genesis of the most famous of modern works on the Renaissance.

Of Vespasiano's life we know comparatively little. He was born in Florence in 1421 of a family which had originated in Bisticci, a little village near Florence, from which he took his name. We do not know whether family circumstances prevented his completing a higher education and so entering into one of the recognized higher professions or whether his own . . .

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