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|Posté le: Lun 19 Juin - 02:16 (2017) Sujet du message: Queens Of The Renaissance (Illustrated): WITH TWENTY-FOUR I
This vintage book from 1907 has been digitally converted to downloadable format with original illustrations. A great classic for the home or classroom, an interesting old-fashioned reference book, and an outstanding find.
THERE are no two people who see with the same kind of vision. It is for this reason that, though twenty lives of the six women chosen for this book had been written previously, there would still, it seems to me, be room for a twenty-first. For though the facts might remain identical, there is no possible reiteration of another mind’s exact outlook. Hence I have not scrupled to add these six character studies to the many volumes similar in scope and subject.
The book is called “Queens of the Renaissance,” but Catherine of Siena lived before the Renaissance surged into being, and Anne of Brittany, though her two husbands brought its spirit into France, had not herself a hint of its lovely, penetrating eagerness. They are included because they help, nevertheless, to create continuity and coherence of impression, and the six leading, as they do naturally, one to the other, convey, in the mass, some co-ordinated notion of the Renaissance spirit.
The main object, perhaps, in writing at all lies in the intrinsic interest of any real life lived before us. For every existence is a parti pris towards existence; every character is a personal opinion upon the value of character, feeling, virtue, many things. No personality repeats another, no human drama renews just the same intricate complications of other dramas. In every life and in every person there is some element of uniqueness, some touch of speciality. Because of this even the dullest individuality becomes quickening in biography. It has, if no more, the pathos of its dulness, the didactic warnings of its refusals, the surprise of its individualizing blunders.
All the following lives convey inevitably and unconsciously some statement concerning the opportunity offered by existence. To one, it seemed a place for an ecstasy of joy, success, gratification; to another, a great educational establishment for the soul; to a third, an admirable groundwork for practical domestic arrangements and routine; to Renée of Ferrara, a bewildering, weary accumulation of difficulties and distress; to her more charming relative, an enigma shadowed always by the still greater and grimmer enigma of mortality. And lastly, for the strange, elusive Lucrezia, it is difficult to conceive what it must have meant at all, unless a sequence of circumstances never, under any conditions, to be dwelt upon in their annihilating entirety, but just to be taken piecemeal day by day, reduced and simplified by the littleness of separate hours and moments.
In a book of this kind, where the intention is mainly concerned with character, and for which the reading was inevitably full of bypaths and excursions, a complete bibliography would merely fill many pages, while seeming to a great extent to touch but remotely upon the ladies referred to, but among recent authors a deep debt of gratitude for information received is due to the following: Jacob Burckhardt, Julia Cartwright, Augusta Drane, Ferdinand Gregorovius, R. Luzio, E. Renier, E. Rodoconarchi, and J. Addington Symonds.
Finally, in reference to the portraits included in the life of Beatrice D’Este, a brief statement is necessary. For not only that of Bianca, wife of Giangaleazzo, but also those of Il Moro’s two mistresses, Cecilia Gallerani and Lucrezia Crivelli, are regrettably dubious. The picture of Bianca, however, by Ambrogio da Predis, is more than likely genuinely that of Bianca, though some writers still regard it as a likeness of Beatrice herself. It is to be wished that it were; her prettiness then would have been incontestable and delicious. But in reality there is no hope. One has but to look at the other known portraits of Beatrice to see that her face was podgy, or nearly so, and that (continued)
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