Tarot Cards: Origins, Games, and the Occult

Cards from an 18th century Tarot deck

15th Century Italy Part 2

Welcome back let’s dive right into Milan! The Duchy of Milan was a brand-new state, only 7 years old in 1402, when its first Duke passed away. Gian Galeazzo Visconti spent most of his reign conquering territory in an attempt to reunite Northern Italy and bickering with the French due to a rivalry between the… Continue reading 15th Century Italy Part 2

Venus and Mars by Botticelli

How can we discuss Italy without a little artwork in the mix?  The photo above is Venus and Mars by (Sandro) Botticelli. Botticelli grew up watching his father diligently work to improve their fortunes, and was successful by switching from tanning to gold beating. A profession that brought Botticelli in contact with many artists. Then… Continue reading Venus and Mars by Botticelli

15th Century Italy Part 1

Welcome to the 15th century! As in the century, we will begin in the heart of it all: Italy. As Italy works to move past the tragedies of the 14th century, it begins to take on the ideals of Petrarch, and humanism becomes the norm.  The first would be the Kingdom of Sicily, and the… Continue reading 15th Century Italy Part 1


Italian (Florentine) School; Petrarch (1304-1374) (Francesco Petrarca); National Trust, Blickling Hall; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/petrarch-13041374-francesco-petrarca-171103

Petrarch, the famous poet and father of the Renaissance, was born on July 20, 1304 in the city of Arezzo, Tuscany, as Francensco Petracco (Petrarca) to Ser Petracco and Eletta Canigaini. He had one brother, Gherardo, whom he was particularly close to as they studied and traveled together along with his closest friend, Giovanni Boccaccio.… Continue reading Petrarch

Black Death (1343-1353)

L0072270 Boccaccio's 'The plague of Florence in 1348' Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org The plague of Florence in 1348, as described in Boccaccio's Decameron ('Il decameron'). Etching by L. Sabatelli after himself. Engraving By: Giovanni Boccaccioafter: Pier Roberto Capponi and Luigi SabatelliPublished: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Now that we have a better understanding of the 14th century and the major players (countries) involved, we should slow down and take a minute to discuss the events, concepts, people, and art from the century before we dive into the drama of the 15th century. If there is anything or anyone specific you would… Continue reading Black Death (1343-1353)

The Feast of Herod and the Beheading of the Baptist by Giovanni Baronzio

Today we are looking at a curious piece of artwork done by Giovanni Baronzio named ‘The Feast of King Herod and the Beheading of the Baptist’ (ca. 1300-35).  Giovanni was an Italian painter from the town of Rimini which sat on the coast of the Adratic Sea in what was known as the Papal States.… Continue reading The Feast of Herod and the Beheading of the Baptist by Giovanni Baronzio

Categorized as Italy

14th Century Italy

We enter Italy at the beginning of the century, and find a world on the brink of bursting with life through trade while also overcoming natural disaster.  The Holy Roman Empire has been revived and a power struggle ensued between them and the papacy. The Anjou dynasty is establishing itself in the country, and the… Continue reading 14th Century Italy