2013 | 61 | 4: Historia Sztuki | 103-126
Article title

Ficino i Savonarola. Dwa oblicza florenckiego renesansu

Title variants
Ficino and Savonarola. Two faces of the Florence Renaissance
Languages of publication
Analysis of the mutual relations between the main intellectual and spiritual authority of the Plato Academy – Marsilio Ficino on the one hand, and Girolamo Savonarola, whose activity was a reaction to the secularization of the Medicean times on the other, and a thorough study of their argument that turned into a ruthless struggle, are possible on the basis of selected sources and studies of the subject. The most significant are the following: Savonarola, Prediche e scritti; Guida Spirituale – Vita Christiana; Apologetico: indole e natura dell’arte poetica; De contempt mundi as well as Ficino’s letters and Apologia contra Savonarolam; and also Giovanni Pica della Mirandoli’s De hominis dignitate. The two adversaries’ mutual relations assumed the shape of surprising similarities and contradictions. They both came from the families of court doctors, which gave them access to broad knowledge of man’s nature that was available to doctors at those times, and let them grow up in the circles of sophisticated Renaissance elites. Ficino lived in the Medici’s residences in Florence, and Savonarola in the palace belonging to the Este family in Ferrara. Ficino eagerly used the benefits of such a situation, whereas Savonarola became an implacable enemy of the oligarchy that limited the citizens’ freedom they had at that time, and a determined supporter of the republic, to whose revival in Florence he contributed a lot. This situated them in political camps that opposed each other. They were similarly educated and had broad intellectual horizons. They left impressive works of literature concerned with the domain of spirituality, philosophy, religion, literature and arts, and their texts contain fewer contradictions than it could be supposed. Being priests they aimed at defending the Christian religion. Ficino wanted to reconcile the religious doctrine with the world of ancient philosophy and in order to do this he did gigantic work to make a translation of Plato’s works. He wanted to fish souls in the intellectual net of Plato’s philosophy and to convert them. And it is here that they differed from each other. Savonarola’s attitude towards the antiquity was hostile; he struggled for the purity of the Christian doctrine and for the simplicity of its followers’ lives. He called upon people to repent and convert. He first of all noticed an urgent need to deeply reform the Chuch, which led him to an immediate conflict with Pope Alexander VI Borgia. In accordance with the spirit of the epoch he was interested in astrology and he cast accurate horoscopes. Savonarola rejected astrology, and he believed that God, like in the past, sends prophets to the believers. His sermons, that had an immense impact on the listeners, were based on prophetic visions, especially ones concerning the future of Florence, Italy and the Church. His moral authority and his predictions that came true, were one of the reasons why his influence increased so much that after the fall of the House of Medici he could be considered an informal head of the Republic of Florence. It was then that he carried out the strict reforms, whose part were the famous „Bonfires of the Vanities”. Seemingly Ficino passively observed the preacher’s work. Nevertheless over the years a conflict arose between the two great personalities. It had the character of a political struggle. It was accompanied by a rivalry for intellectual and spiritual influence, as well as by a deepening mutual hostility. Ficino expressed it in Apologia contra Savonarolam written soon after Savonarola’s tragic death; the monk was executed according to Alexander VI Borgia’s judgment. The sensible neo-Platonist had no hesitation in thanking the Pope for liberating Florence from Savonarola’s influence and he called his opponent a demon and the Antichrist deceiving the believers. How deep must the conflict have been since it led Ficino to formulating his thoughts in this way, and how must it have divided Florence’s community? The dispute between the leading moralizers of those times must have caused anxiety in their contemporaries. Both the antagonists died within a year, one after the other, and their ideas had impact even long after their deaths, finding their reflection in the next century’s thought and arts.
  • Adriani М.: Firenze Sacra, Firenze 1990.
  • Białostocki J.: Myśliciele, kronikarze i artyści o sztuce od starożytności do 1500. Warszawa 1978.
  • Вottoni L.: Leonardo e l’Androgino. L’eros transessuale nella cultura, nella pittura e nel teatro del rinascimento, Milano 2002.
  • Burchardt J.: Kultura Odrodzenia we Włoszech, Warszawa 1991.
  • Burkę Р.: Kultura i społeczeństwo w renesansowych Włoszech, Warszawa 1991.
  • Сhastel A.: Marsile Ficin et l’art, Geneve-Lille 1954.
  • Сhastel A.: Arte e Umanesimo a Firenze al tempo di Lorenzo il Magnifico, Torino 1974.
  • Eсo U.: Sztuka i piękno w średniowieczu, Kraków 1997.
  • Enciclopedia Italiana di scienze, lettere ed arti, Milano 1936.
  • Ferrаrа М.: L'influenza del Savonarola sulla letteratura e l’arte del quattrocento, w: G. Savonarola, Prediche e scritti, Milano 1930.
  • Fiсinо М.: A Manuscript of Marsilio Ficino’s, Apologia contra Savonarolam, oprac. V. Weis, Dallas: Bridwell Library, Dallas-Teksas 2006.
  • Garin E.: Scienza e vita civile nel Rinascimento italiano, Bari 1965.
  • Garin E.: Filozofia Odrodzenia we Włoszech, Warszawa 1969.
  • Hale J. R.: Encyclopaedia of the Italian Renaissance, London 1989.
  • Hugede N.: Savonarola i Florentyńczycy, Warszawa 1988.
  • Klaczko J.: Juliusz II, Warszawa 1965 [Paris 1898].
  • Kristeller Р. O.: Supplementum Ficinianum, Florencja 1937.
  • Kristeller Р. O.: The Philosophy of Marsilio Ficino, New York 1943.
  • Kristeller Р. О.: II pensiero filosofico di Marsilio Ficino, Firenze 1988.
  • Kuczyńska A.: Filozofia i teoria piękna Marsylia Ficina, Warszawa 1970. Macchiavelli N.: Książę, Rozważania nad pierwszym dziesięcioksięgiem historii Rzymu Liwiusza, Warszawa 1984.
  • Meltzoff S.: Botticelli, Signorelli and Savonarola. Theologia poetica and Painting from Boccaccio to Poliziano, Firenze 1987.
  • Ostrowski A.: Savonarola, Warszawa 1974.
  • Panofsky E.: Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art, Copenhagen 1960. Panofsky E.: Studia z Historii Sztuki, Warszawa 1971.
  • Pico della Mirandola G.: De hominis dignitate, wyd. E Garin, Florencja 1942. Rovassenda E.: Savonarola: Moralista - Mistico - Profeta, Studi Savonaroliani, Ferra- ra, t. I-III, Ferrara 1952-1953.
  • Savonarola G.: Apologetico: indole e natura delParte poetica, oprać. A. Stagnitta, Roma 1998.
  • Savonarola G.: Prediche e scritti, oprać. M. Ferrara, Milano 1930.
  • Savonarola G.: Edizione Nazionale delle Opere di Girolamo Savonarola, oprać. R. Ri- dolfi, Firenze 1955.
  • Savonarola G.: Guida Spirituale, Vita Cristiana, Torino 1952 [1497].
  • Savonarola H.:O Miłości Jezusa i inne pisma, tłum: A. Kuciak, Warszawa 2004.
  • Savonarola G.: Selected writings of Girolamo Savonarola: religion and politics 1490- 1498, oprac. A. Borelli, M. Pastore Passaro, Yale 2006.
  • Savonarola G.: Medytacje więzienne, wstęp L. Lazzerini, tłum. W. Olszaniec, Kęty 2010.
  • Swieżawski S.: Dzieje filozofii europejskiej XV wieku, t. I-VI, Warszawa 1983.
  • Swieżawski S.: Między średniowieczem a czasami nowymi. Sylwetki myślicieli XV wieku, Warszawa 1983.
  • Tatarkiewicz W.: Historia filozofii, t. I-III, Warszawa 1978. Tatarkiewicz W.: Historia estetyki, t. III: Estetyka Nowożytna, Warszawa 1991.
  • Vasari G.: Żywoty najsławniejszych malarzy, rzeźbiarzy i architektów, tłum. K. Estreicher, Warszawa-Kraków 1985.
  • Warburg A.: La rinascita del paganesimo antico, Perugia 1987 [Leipzig-Berlin 1932].
  • Weise G.: II rinovamento delParte religiosa nella rinascita, Firenze 1969.
  • Weinstein D.: The Myth of Florence, w: Florentine Studies, wyd. N. Rubinstein, London 1968.
  • Weinstein D., Savonarola e Firenze, Bologna 1970.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.