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Thursday, April 27, 2017

If You Were Me and Lived In...Renaissance Italy

If You Were Me and Lived In...Renaissance Italy is up next. I love the range of time periods of these books; this particular one finds us in Florence immediately after the Middle Ages. 

The Middle Ages were rough on everyone. The rich owned the land and everyone else worked on it. The Renaissance, which begins in the 1400's, saw a move from an agricultural subsistence to the addition of art and architecture to society. As bankers became richer, specifically the Medici's, they hired more artists. You  might be familiar with Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael -- and no, I'm not referring to the Ninja Turtles. These were famous artists who were commissioned for house paintings as well as some of the most famous art we have in galleries around the world today. 

Your family would have been large -- you would have had many brothers and sisters. Your father would have run his business out of your first floor, and your job was one of the following: as a boy, do well in school, and as a girl, learn how to keep a good house. We can cry about this, but it was 600+ years ago and we can't change it. We can only learn from it. 

Just as in Ancient Greece, the water was no good, so you were stuck with wine. (It's not a bad deal, really.) Your clothes were far more ornate than your own parents' were, and you totally dig that. You wore even more ornate clothes to festivals. Everyone in the Renaissance period loves festivals. That's why today we have Renaissance fairs. Because everyone loves festivals and turkey legs

However, the most important part of this time period was the art. Roman has included in the back of her book a list of some of the most famous pieces of the time and a picture with a caption describing it, including Michaelangelo's David and Hands of God & Adam and DaVinci's Mona Lisa. I am partial to art of this period as well not just because I love sculpture (blame it on my classical background), but because of the famous Lorenzetti brothers and distant relatives (Pietro and Ambrogio, my boys). Roman also includes a list of famous people of the time with a picture and a description, and as usual a glossary. These books are just so handy and informative, and I love that they skew older than her other series that I love so much. I appreciate the time and thought put into this work; it's clear that it is done with an eye toward education, and I am happy to add this one to my arsenal. Were Me and Lived In...Renaissance Italy

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