The day is finally here, we are only hours away from unearthing a long lost chamber that is said to hold priceless treasures from the Renaissance and the Age of Baroque. In this chamber we hope to find several different items. The items in the chamber are said to represent the arts, music, architecture, philosophy and literature.
We have done it, we have reached the chamber. It is amazing, it holds even more than we could have imagined. Upon entering the first item that I noticed was the statue of David. It is a work of genius by Renaissance area sculpture Michelangelo. Michelangelo created the statue of David between 1501 and 1504. It is a 17.0 foot marble statue of the biblical protagonist David standing fully nude. The statue is a true interpretation of the standing heroic man. Such poses were considered to be distinct feature of historic sculpture in the high Renaissance.
Michelangelo’s sculpture of David has come to be one of the most renowned works of Renaissance sculpture, becoming a representation of both strength and youthful human beauty. The next item that I see is a large painting. Upon closer inspecting I see that it is The Hippopotamus and Crocodile Hunt by Peter Paul Rubens. Rubens painted The Hippopotamus and Crocodile Hunt in 1616. He was a true Baroque era artist. Rubens use of dramatics and visual diagonal to broaden the sense of immediacy and movement and redirected attention downward into the center of action truly represent the Baroque era style of art.
As we search deeper into the chamber we continue to find more and more fascinating items from such a unique and interesting time in human history. In a dark corner of the chamber we have discovered a rare find, the manuscript of Missa de Beata Virgine by Josquin de Perez. Missa de Beata Virgine is a musical set of the “Ordinary of the Mass”. It is believed to have been composed around 1510. Missa de Beata Virgine was the one of Perez’s most popular works in the 16th century. Josquin des Prez was a Renaissance composer from the Netherlands. Perez was a leading composer of the Renaissance bravura of polyphonic vocal music. The second musical item that I discovered was a Violin once used by Arcangelo Corelli. Corelli was an Italian violinist and composer in the Baroque era. Corelli played second violin to the legendary Carlo Mannelli at the San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome. Corelli continued to play and compose music until his death in 1713. Over his lifetime he 12 violin and continuo sonatas and 48 trio sonatas. Corelli’s contributions to the violinist community are still felt today.
With each passing hour we discover more and more momentous and historic finds. Earlier today, under a stack of 16th century literature I came across Filippo Brunelleschi’s original blue prints for the brick dome of the Florence Cathedral. The brick dome was Brunelleschi’s first major architectural commission. The massive brick dome which covers the central space of Florence’s Cathedral was originally designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in the 1300’s but was left unroofed. The brick dome of the Florence Cathedral has often been described as the first building of the Renaissance. Brunelleschi’s use of gothic ribs and pointed gothic arches original designed by Arnolfo, was considered both daring and adventitious. Although Brunelleschi’s design while stylistically Gothic, the dome is in fact was architecturally influenced by the great dome of Ancient Rome. Also among the countless drawings was a sketch of Saint Yves at La Sapienza. Saint Yves at La Sapienza is a Catholic church in Rome. It was built in the mid 1600’s and was designed by the by the Swiss architect Francesco Borromini. The church is considered to be a masterpiece of Roman Baroque architecture.
As we explore more and more of this vast chamber we come across many interesting relics of the Renaissance and the Age of Baroque. I have come across a rare book, On the Soul by Aristotle. At first this book confuses me, this book is much older than any of the other artifacts we have discovered in the chamber. Soon it becomes clear to me why this book belongs in this chamber. Philosophy, this book was used by many of the great philosophers during the Renaissance. People such as Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham, and Marsilius of Padua used read and used On the Soul to help them better understand nature of living things. Many of Aristotle’s writings were used by Renaissance philosophers, never an unquestioned authority but rather as a foundation for conversation. Also in this area of Philosophy we find the work of René Descartes. Descartes was a 17th century French philosopher, mathematician and writer. He has been labeled The Father of Modern Philosophy. Although French, Descartes spent most of his life in the Dutch Republic. Many of his works are still discussed today and much of Western philosophy is a response to his work.
As I draw near the end of my exploration of this remarkable chamber I come across a few more items. One of the more noteworthy pieces of literature contained in this chamber is an original copy of the King James Version of the Bible. This English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England was originally printed in 1611, after 7 years of work. This was the third translation into English to be accepted by the English Church establishment. The first was the Great Bible commissioned in the reign of King Henry VIII, and the second was the Bishops’ Bible of 1568. The historical significance of this piece of literature can never be over stated. Also discovered were some rare poems by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (Michelangelo). Michelangelo was an Italian architect, painter, sculptor, and poet of the Renaissance. His influence on western art and culture is unparalleled. Despite making few ventures outside of the visual arts, the mastery in the disciplines he perused was of such a high order that he is often considered the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci.
As we finish exploring this vast chamber and uncover more and more artifacts from the Renaissance and the Age of Baroque we stop and consider all that we have found. All of the items that we have discovered in are exploration of this chamber speak to us about such a remarkable time in the history of mankind. The Renaissance can Age of Baroque have played such an important role in our storied history. It was an awakening form a dark time, it was a time were thought and reason were the common mind set, not superstition and ancient beliefs. If it were not for this time in our history we would not be the society we are today.
1. Thomas Nagel (1987). What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy. Oxford University Press, pp. 4-5. 2. Gloria K. Fiero (2010). The Humanistic Tradition Book 3 and 4: The European Renaissance, The
Reformation, and Global Encounter 3. James Hankins, Plato in the Italian Renaissance, 2 vols (Leiden: Brill, 1990, 1991). 4. Hartt, Frederick, Michelangelo: the complete sculpture, New York: Abrams,1982. 5. Andersen, Liselotte. 1969. “Baroque and Rococo Art”, New York: H. N. Abrams.