Catherine Fletcher on the Dark Side of the Italian Renaissance

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Catherine Fletcher talks about the Italian Renaissance, giving a run-down of her new book, The Beauty and the Terror. She talks about Florence, and the beginnings of the renaissance, discussing Lorenzo de' Medici as well as the Borgias, as well as the influence of Girolamo Savanorola.

She also talks about the more brutal aspects of the renaissance, from the potential that the Mona Lisa was funded by money earned from slavery, to the brutal retribution courtesans who transgressed the rules could face. The courtesan Angela Zafetta, model of Titian's Venus of Urbino, is reputed to have faced a punishment far worse than the usual for one such act of transgression. Fletcher also talks Machiavelli: what he said and what he didn't say, and why he matters.

Catherine Fletcher is a Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Find out more here: https://www.ukri.org/news/100-new-generation-thinkers/

Producer: Peter Curry



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