We examine Leonardo’s writing style, and his apprenticeship at age 14 to Andrea del Verrocchio, an Italian painter, sculptor, and goldsmith, because even geniuses need a master to learn from (despite what The Queen’s Gambit will have you believe).
“Extraordinary power … conjoined with remarkable facility, a mind of regal boldness and magnanimous daring.” That’s how Vasari described Leonardo da Vinci. But how much do we really know about the world’s most famous artist? And how much of what we think we know is myth?
Savonarola was notified that he and his closest colleagues had been condemned to die. His most ardent believers had faith that the Lord would save him at the last minute, but, yet again, God didn’t show up for work. At 1pm, May 23, 1498, they were degraded then burned in the Piazza della Signoria. And now Florence needs to get its shit together. Do they bring back the Medici? Join the Holy League? And what can they learn from the Savonarola episode?
The trials of Savonarola begin. First he is put on trial by the Signoria of Florence for his political interference. Then he is put on trial by the Pope for his religious accusations and claims of prophecy. This being Catholic Italy, part of the trial involves torture – the strappado. Under torture Savonarola confesses to making everything up and being a big old fake.
With Charles out of the picture, Piero de Medici figures it’s time for him to return to Florence. He marched into Tuscany with a force of four hundred lancers, light cavalry, and foot soldiers. Unfortunately, nobody shows up to welcome him and he goes back into exile. But his attempt at a return sets off a series of political assassinations in Florence, supported by Savonarola. Civil tensions increase until a Franciscan friar challenges Savonarola to trial by fire. When this doesn’t work out as planned, the people are furious and Savonarola gets thrown into prison.