Artibus et Historiae no. 15 (VIII)

1987, ISSN 0391-9064

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CARLO DEL BRAVO - Francesco de' Medici at the Villa Pratolino

Comparing the thoughts and actions of Francesco de' Medici with what Aristotle and Diogenes Laertios wrote in their memoirs concerning Empedocles, one can see the Grand Duke's enterprise, the Pratolino villa and park, as an allegory of the elements, of primordial forces, of the natural origin of movement and life, of the possibility of correcting, and elaborating on, nature (and thus virtue too), as well as of the relativity of knowledge. On this basis, we will see that there are also references to Empedocles in other of Francesco de' Medici's artistic endeavors, like putting Giambologna's Rape of the Sabines into Piazza di Firenze, in an attempt to include the sculptures already there in a new vision of things. Raffaello Borghini in his memoirs reports statements of the Grand Duke and other Florentines of the time, who seem to prudently conceal their naturalistic and therefore atheistic attitudes.

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