Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Weekly Geek! Florence

Ludovico Sforza
Matthew’s Italian “escapades” as Philippe referred to them involved the Italian Wars of 1494 -98.   This interlude involved quite a cast of characters - the Borgia pope Alexander VI, his son Cesare Borgia, the Medici family, Fra Savonarola, and Ludavico Sforza  (daVinci's foremost patron).

Charles VIII of France, at the urging of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, invaded Italy, initially to press his claim to the Kingdom of Naples.

The French stormed the Italian peninsula - taking over Mordano after a brutal siege - and set their sights on Florence.  Piero, the son of Lorenzo the Great, basically handed over some key fortifications and a big wad of cash, to save Florence from Mordano's fate.

This unrest gave Savonarola, the Dominican friar who had the bonfire of the vanities (it destroyed all but three Botticelli paintings), the leverage to convince the Florentines to overthrow the de Medici's and help the Piagnoni to power - it also antagonized the Borgia pope who was trying to keep a lid on Savonarola.  The Florentines soon learned that life in Savonarola's Florence was not what they hoped for.
Bonfire of the Vanities
It was not long after that the League of Venice was formed, which joined forces with the Pope and other anti French forces, including an alliance with Spain.  Charles soon retreated to France, leaving a garrison in Naples which was ultimately overrun.

Suffice it to say, Matthew would have been persona non grata in Florence just as Philippe had intimated, thanks to the mess that Charles VIII 's invading force left behind!

da Vinci's Last Supper was commissioned by Sforza

Time to feed those daemons!

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