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A friar and an astronomer by BricksandStones A friar and an astronomer by BricksandStones

This is the medieval, western façade of the cathedral in Ferrara (Italy). It is the only medieval part of the cathedral that is still preserved; the rest of the building is a mixture of Renaissance and Baroque styles and has a very different, modern feel to it. The façade, however, is genuine 12th C. work that includes Romanesque and Gothic elements in a manner that is reminiscent of Lombard architecture. The façade today looks very similar to the way it appeared in the late 15th C. when Ferrara was home to two extraordinary figures. The first was born in Ferrara – Girolamo Savonarola was a Dominican friar and a powerful preacher who criticized the corruption and wealth of the church. He opposed the powerful Medici family as well as the Pope and used popular support to take control of one of Italy’s wealthiest cities – Florence. For a moment, it seemed his fiery speeches and visions gave him absolute control over the heart of Italy but eventually Savonarola was brought before the Pope and was tortured, branded as a heretic and executed. At the same time, another visitor to Ferrara was a Polish astronomer, Nicholaus Copernicus. After studying in the Cracow University, Copernicus went to the universities of Bologna and Ferrara to further his knowledge. In few years, he will return to Poland and publish a ground breaking work arguing that the earth is not the center of the universe but rather, that is orbits around the sun.

What did Copernicus think about Savonarola? I wonder, was he inspired or threatened by Savonarolla’s radicalism? Did he expect that his own, radical views about the universe will echo through the history of Europe and science? When Copernicus and Savonarola looked at the cathedral in Ferrara, did it bring them solace? Did they find it beautiful or were they so busy with their work that they paid no heed to the old building? Either way, the façade stands as a witness surviving one of the most dramatic periods in the history of Europe – the time of radical ideas and remarkable individuals like Copernicus or Savonarola who sought to bring change to the world around them.

 

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:iconmichael-d-beckwith:
michael-d-beckwith Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
I like the details in the architecture, very nice photograph B&S.:)
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2017
I am very glad you like it Michael - thank you very much for viewing this piece and (once again) sorry for taking so many days to respond - despite this delay, I honestly appreciate your comment!
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:iconzivichi:
Zivichi Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2017  Student General Artist
This is a very impressive cathedral! Cute Emoticon BlushingI love the many arcs that it has!pink heart   
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2017
I also like facades decorated with such arches - it is a pleasure to know that someone else also appreciates their beauty - thank you very much for the comment and I am sorry for taking so long to reply!
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:iconartamusica:
artamusica Featured By Owner May 16, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
I love your reflection regarding those historic figures and how they might have perceived this building. I haven't been to Ferrara so haven't ever seen this cathedral. It's an interesting piece of architecture. Perhaps Mozart might have seen it on his tour of Italy. He certainly was in Bologna, that other famous university town. As always, I just love all your commentary, it makes these buildings, photos and history come alive again! Are you still working on that museum project?
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner May 18, 2017
Whenever I see a comment from you my first impulse is to write - thank you! It is a pleasure get such a kind and interesting comment. Somehow, thinking that Mozart might also have gazed upon this facade seems to complement the story about Copernicus and Savonarola - yet another, talented spectator in Ferrara :) About your question - yes - the Museum is scheduled for opening for 2020 but the scenario for the medieval exhibition, that is the part I am working at - is supposed to be ready by September 2017 so right now I still have a lot of work to do - we will see how things will work out afterwards - I would love to start working in the university but this will probably be hard - especially since I have so much work in the museum that I was not able to prepare applications for grants and work of academic publications..... it seems my dreams are just drifting away... still, the museum project is interesting and quite rewarding as well so... anyway, thank you for the comment - as always, I really appreciate it!
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:iconartamusica:
artamusica Featured By Owner May 25, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
So happy to know that I inspire you to write at least! I am very excited about the preparation of your medieval part of the museum and know that you are working very hard on this. It is often hard to balance out one's creative/academic life with out and out survival (i.e. a job). You are fortunate to have a job now that at least uses your expertise and knowledge, and sometimes our paths lead us in different directions that we thought to pursue. Don't give up on your dreams, my friend, it just might take a little longer than you thought. My piano duo partner and I just gave a concert recently and we hadn't done so since 2009. It took her retirement from the international school where we both taught for so many years to spur us on. And it was really good for both of us--not to mention the charity that we raised money for. So we are already planning another one at least. It IS nice to be doing what we trained most of our lives to be doing, but it has also been very worthwhile doing the teaching that we have both done over so many years. To some students, music didn't mean much, but to others we were able to give so much and affect their lives in a meaningful and positive way. I never really had a mentor in my field, so instead I have turned to mentoring others--to give them what I missed so much. It's all about making the world a better place somehow. And learning from history is a lesson that the world so desperately needs now, and always. Keep up the good work, and try to make some time for writing those grants and applications. It will take longer since you have much less time. So allow for that (i.e. start waaaaay before the deadlines). It's all about time management. And in this fast moving world, it is hard to keep up. But don't give up. I know you can do it!!
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:icondashinvaine:
dashinvaine Featured By Owner May 11, 2017
I had assumed that Savonarola was a Florentine, but then no man is a prophet in his home town... Haven't been to Ferrara. Apparently the interior of ther cathedral had to be redone after a fire in the 18th century. The cathedral is evidently the reverse of many Italian churches, where one often finds an older core behind a Renaissance, Baroque or neo-classical facade. 

The sides of the cathedral as well as the front facade seem to be medieval survivals, from what pictures I can find. The Romanesque sides appear to be older than the Gothic front, if anything. 
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner May 28, 2017
To start with the obvious - thank you very much for the comment Gordon - you are a talented and well informed artist so I always particularly enjoy our exchanges :) As for Savonarola being born in Ferrara - not Florence - I was not aware of this until I saw Savonarola's statue with a plaque bragging that he was born in this city.... Also, I like the phrase 'no man is a prophet in his home town' - I think I have heard it before so I googled it and, apparently, a similar quote comes from the Holy Bible (Luke 4:24?). I assume you knew this but for me this was new knowledge... Also, about sides being older than the facade - I think you are right, I can only add that the sides must have been rebuilt at some point so that only part of their decoration (particularly the colonnade) date from the pre-gothic period.... Thank you again and sorry for taking so long to respond! 
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:iconjarchitect:
JArchitect Featured By Owner May 8, 2017   Photographer
Excelent Job, as Always.
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner May 25, 2017
Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment Juan - I appreciate it and I am very glad you like it - thanks again!
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:iconjarchitect:
JArchitect Featured By Owner May 26, 2017   Photographer
It's a pleasure for me; And above all your image coincided with a retrospective study of the general history of architecture, which I am developing and personal form. Thanks for giving that clarity and objectivity that architects need with your images. Without forgetting your descriptions, great work.
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:iconmecengineer:
mecengineer Featured By Owner May 4, 2017
excellent
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner May 18, 2017
I am glad you like it - thank you very, very much for the comment - all the best!
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:iconpaul-1485:
Paul-1485 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2017  Professional Writer
Great pic of an interesting building!
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2017
I am very glad you think so Paul - thank you very much for taking the time to comment - the weather in Warsaw is quite awful right now so getting a positive comment is a great way to cheer up - thank you!
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:iconlostknightkg:
lostknightkg Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2017
Stunnin awesome Architecture, love the fine carved details  :)
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2017
I am very glad you like it! This facade was the only reason why I visited Ferrara (nearly 8 years ago, to be honest....) Thank you very much for taking the time to comment - as always - I really appreciate it - I was hoping you might appreciate the mixing of Gothic and Romanesque arches - it seems very harmonious here.... Thank you again!
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:iconlostknightkg:
lostknightkg Featured By Owner May 2, 2017
It is unique and totally worth seeing, welcome :)
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:iconladymarg:
LadyMarg Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
Piękne. Tyle pięknych miejsc na świecie, a ja nadal bez kasy, by je zobaczyć :D
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2017
Ech, jak to mówią anglicy "tell me about it" - ostatnio dużo mniej podróżuję z tego samego powodu - praca w Polsce - o ile uda się znaleźć to jednak dużo mniejsze zarobki - to zdjęcie zrobiłem 7 lat temu - wrzucam stare na DA bo teraz podróżuję dużo, dużo mniej niż kiedyś - generalnie moje sukcesy podróżnicze ostatnio to Pułtusk i Płock :) Dzięki za komentarz - to bardzo miłe, że chce Ci się coś napisać czasem - może w przyszłości będzie lepiej i znajdą się środki na podróże - trzymam za nas kciuki :)
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:iconladymarg:
LadyMarg Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
Bardzo smutne jest to, co piszesz, ale niestety rozumiem :( Jestem właśnie na etapie przechodzenia z działalności na etat i zarobki są zabójczo niskie :( Może w przyszłości sobie jakoś odbiję... Trzymam kciuki, żeby Tobie też się udawało częściej wyrwać. Pozdrawiam!
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:iconpawelotti:
pawelotti Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
O ile wygląda majestatycznie to sama kamienica po lewej (przylegająca?) nieco psuje ten wizerunek :(
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2017
Racja generalnie, mówiąc szczerze, niewiele się zachowało ze średniowiecznej Ferrary - więksość zabudować renesansowa albo późniejsza. Tłumy ludzi też nie ułatwiają zdjęć -  oryginalnie na tym zdjęciu było ok 9 osób jeszcze - w tym para z wózkiem dziecięcym - wszystko to wyciąłem co zajęło z 2 godziny edytowania a i tak efekt taki sobie - ech - mówiąc szczerze od dawna dużo mniej podróżuję z braku pieniędzy więc wrzucam zdjęcia bardzo stare - w Ferrarze byłem jakieś 7 lat temu.... Dzięki za komentarz - to bardzo miłe że chce Ci się coś napisać - dzięki! Jak tam życie po zdobyciu tytułu? Jakieś okazje fajne się pojawiły?
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:iconpawelotti:
pawelotti Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
zaskoczyłeś mnie tym, że zdjęcie jest edytowane :O

Po zdobyciu tytułu byłem na kilku rozmowach. Chyba się trochę przeceniłem i można powiedzieć, że tych okazji przepuściłem :x Szukam dalej.
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:iconaroco:
Aroco Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Truly amazing and, of course, wonderful information. Thank you for sharing :clap:
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2017
I am very glad you like it Nykki - as always, it should be me thanking you for taking the time to view this and comment - thank you! i appreciate it! Cheers - the weather is quite cold in Warsaw right now so getting positive comments gets me in a better mood - thank you yet again!
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:iconaroco:
Aroco Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Pleasure is all mine and I was thrilled to see your photos. You are amazing with your wealth of knowledge and I appreciate such a learned person sharing this. I love your photos and always look forward to reading your information. Thank you heaps :clap: :clap: :clap:
I hope the weather gets warmer for you - we are in Autumn, so soon the cold will be in NZ and you will be basking in sunshine :)
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:iconcalimer00:
calimer00 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017
Gorgeous, beautiful architecture!
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017
I am very glad you like it - thank you for the comment and, if you do not mind, I wish you happy Easter!
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:iconcalimer00:
calimer00 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017
Not the least! Happy Easter to you as well!
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:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017   Photographer
Very interesting information indeed. Although it should be mentioned that Savonarola also used gangs of boys to beat people up. So he was a kind of reformer, but a very violent one. (Not that he didn't have a point, though!)
As for Copernicus, he was one of the many men of early science who were also religious of some sort. Monks, priests or lay preachers. I think of Hildegard von Bingen, Galileo, and of course Francis Bacon. But there were dozens of others.
As to your question, I'm sure they contemplated this. I mean, who wouldn't?!
Great photo too!
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017
I am very glad you took the time to comment on this, of course, you are right - it was not my intention to glorify Savonarola - I think he is a fascinating character but this does not mean I support ideas such as destruction of art. Still, I imagine his fiery speeches must have been quite a spectacle. You are also right about Copernicus - there is a fascinating book about this, at least I find it fascinating, it is called 'God's Philosophers - How the Medieval World Laid Foundations of Modern Science' by James Hannam - there is a chapter there about Copernicus where the author lists some of the medieval authors who inspired Copernicus - for example he shows that whole passages in Copernicus' work are taken from earlier scholastic thinkers   - for example Jean Buridan who also compared earth to a sailing ship which is moving but everyone on board might not be aware of this and think that everything around them is moving. So again, you are right of course - thank you very much again for visiting my gallery - it is always a pleasure to get a thoughtful comment! Also, if you do not mind, I wish you a Happy Easter!
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:iconartlovr59:
artlovr59 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017   Photographer
I'm glad you liked my comment. I'm sure his speeches were quite something at the time, no doubt about that.
That book by Hannam sounds interesting indeed, (I must add it to my ever-growing list!)
You're welcome and Happy Easter to you!
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:iconahappierlife:
ahappierlife Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2017
So clever the way you match your description to the building - it gives life to the image. A touching story too - it's easy to forget how cheap freedom of speech is for us and how much it cost in earlier centuries. Humbling.
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2017
Thank you for the comment Andrew - I must admit I really enjoy reading such thoughtful comments - I certainly agree that people tend to get freedom of speech for granted whilst even in the modern world, there are millions who are deprived of this basic right.... I am very happy to see you still visit my gallery, cheers and, if you do not mind, I wish you a happy Easter! 
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:iconahappierlife:
ahappierlife Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017
Happy Easter to you too, dear friend!
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:iconmiirex:
miirex Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Doskonale się trzyma, jak na takiego staruszka. 
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2017
:) Dziękuję za komentarz - fasada faktycznie stoi dumnie ale reszta katedry jest znacznie późniejsza i, mówiąc szczerze, nieco mniej urokliwa - dziękuję jeszcze raz - miło mi, że to zdjęcie zwróciło Pana uwagę - dziękuję!
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:iconmiirex:
miirex Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Zazwyczaj podziwiamy kunszt starych mistrzów i to nie tylko w sferze architektury. Fajnie jest oglądać miejsca do których nigdy się nie wybierzemy. :) 
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:iconwoodsman2b:
woodsman2b Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2017
Kudos ! I think it is one of your best descriptions ever !
At the same time the monument is greatly inspiring !
Great job ! :D
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:iconbricksandstones:
BricksandStones Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2017
Wow, thank you very much for this comment Dylan - I am very glad you enjoyed the description - to be honest I was planning to submit this piece for quite a long time but I struggled to come up with an interesting description for it - to be honest, I do not know much about Ferrara's history and i was not sure if internet sources are reliable. Last week however, when I was reading about Copernicus for my Museum job I found out that Copernicus studied in Ferrara at the same time when Savonarola was giving some of his most fiery speeches - I thought that writing about them together might be interesting and thats when I finally decided to upload this shot even though I visited Ferrara many years ago... Anyway, sorry for longish response - I just wanted to emphasise that I am really glad you like the description because it took me a long time to come up with it... Thank you again!
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:iconwoodsman2b:
woodsman2b Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017
ou're very welcome ! Sometimes the best words for a story come a long way !
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