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Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

(1463 - 1494 (31))




Cristofano dell'Altissimo - portrait of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (copy of an unknown original),

Uffizi, Gioviana Collection, reproduced in "The Medici of Florence" by Emma Micheletti - Buy from Amazon USA - Buy from Amazon UK  



Though he died young, Pico was one of the most influential of the Renaissance neo-Platonists (as opposed to scholastics and Aristotleans).  Also influenced by the writings of the Spanish Muslim philosopher Averroes and Jewish philosophy, and driven by a desire to synthesize almost everything - Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, Hebrew thought, Jewish mysticism, Arabic philosophy, and a whole host of other stuff, into a single philosophical system to serve humankind and what he saw as its unlimited capacity for spiritual self development. 


Pico's "Oration on the Dignity of Man" (easily findable on the Web) is a kind of manifesto of the Renaissance and Humanism.  Inevitably he fell foul of the church, but the patronage of Lorenzo de' Medici kept them off his back and allowed him to pursue his writings in Florence.



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