“The Horseshoe Nail”

Jeff Mielke

in Living on the Edge in Leonardo's Florence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780520241343
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930995 | DOI:
“The Horseshoe Nail”

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This chapter discusses the role of contingency in Italian history. It also discusses the role of some major figures in Italy's religious and cultural life. How for instance, would the peninsula's religious experience have been different if Francis of Assisi had died of pneumonia after stripping his clothes and giving them to his father? How would Italian culture have developed if Dante had been seized and executed after his death sentence by Florentine Guelfs in 1302? What if Petrarch had succumbed to the plague in Avignon in 1348, instead of his beloved Laura? After considering the possible outcomes of these events, the chapter then considers how the history of Renaissance art might have been different if Masaccio, Donatello, Brunelleschi, da Vinci, and Giotto had died before reaching their teens, which was the fate of most of the Italian children born in these years.

Keywords: Italian history; Renaissance; religious life; cultural life

Chapter.  7657 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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