Living on the edge  in Leonardo’s Florence

Gene  Brukker/ California Press 2005.


  • The first born among the sons of Modern Europe: sharp, decisive, dramatic break (radical transformation). Mercantil capitalism, secularism, individualism vs. Middle Age. (agrarian, feudal, sacral).
  • Here, now vs life/death.
  • Feudal= man <->family, corporation.
  • Relationships: spiritual, individual, recognizing himself.
  • Italy’s radical break, + slowly, gradually selective.


Medieval  men: feudalism, chivalry, courtly, money, marriage, trade, conflicts.

Relationship with people: power, relevance, Christian faith.

Free, independent,  self conscious, aware, order/control/life.

Patronage Networks

Honor & fame

0 peace, stability

Black death -1/3 population.

Relationship Individualism

In large measure, the History of the Families, aristocratic clans.

+injury = + fear

Buildings= civic pride

Banking, international  commerce.

Cultural revolution

Studia humanitatis= promote rules, glorify achievements. One can see the  rising tide of the men on social level & profession.

Nature/ Physical Universe

Salvation knowledge

Wisdom= religion

Humanism: Mastery/ media, wider audience, opponents vs antiquated style + aesthetics.

Math proportions= harmony & balance/ all arts.

Recovering literacy+ artistic heritage/ Antiquity:thinkers, science, knowledge: sufficient purposes.

Maturity and decline, terrestrian paradise.

Skilled & discipline on Arts.

Vasari/Florence/men achievement:

Disapproval vs mediocrity

Industriousness vs talent, judgement, shrewd, quick money.

Glory & honor

Spanish monarchy+Roman Papacy= alliance/ control Italy.

  • Repression, intolerance.

Relationship freedom to explore, innovate, challenge  values of the Institutions ->  anxiety vs uniformity. Supported culture.

Leonardo Da Vinci all interest, his confidence/ talents, sceptical knowledge: observation, experiment, set apart, scientific method, curiosity, excitement= fear & anxiety.

Intrepid explorer of unknown.

Leonardo Da Vinci affected by invasions/professional career.

Searching  stable environment.

Civic traditions

Cooperation & collaboration-> goals,  social  bonds.

North : reciprocity & networks: guilds -> coercive,invasion.

North Italy: progressive

South Italy: feudal

Confraternities common good: persons, propriety &business affairs.

Honor-> virtue.

Citizens/ free, counsel of public affairs, Amici protect himself from his enemies.

Honor & profit

Reducing the population (hunger, wars, taxs, conspirancies).

Our advice= our will.

Societies bourgeois vs liberal.

Manipulate political system, promoting city wide network of patron-client bands. Autonomy  strategy.

Guilds= mercanzia (commercial & financial affairs, foundations.)

0 Criticism.

Reformers= vivere popolare, survive & prosper.

Elite= tax & foreign policy.

Fiducia: 3 foundations large capital mechanism, less risks, risks/ investing capital = honor obligations.

International trade & reprisals:

Italian business class: commercial needs, transactions validated, less law, secured law personality; collective  liability/ debt, penalty vs bankcrupcy.

Structure: contingency / human history.

Popes= security x+ dominion= destruction, distrust, disobedience, unite vs. invader foreign.


Breach penalized “cedo boris”. Relationship economics: trust,  institutions, protect market= revenues.

Desacralization oath -> fede.

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