Thursday, May 30, 2013

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Growing up (1797-1813)
Franz Schubert was born on January 31, 1797, in Vienna. His father taught him the violin, one brother the keyboard, and he played the viola in the family string quartet. He wrote his first music for this group.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Childhood and youth (1732-1749)
Franz Joseph Haydn was born on March 31, 1732, in the village of Rohrau, Alpinia, about 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Vienna. He later remembered singing frequently with family and neighbors and listening to his father play folk music on the harp.

Four Requirements for Living as Witnesses to Jesus

Our greatest honor is to live as witnesses to Jesus Christ.

Witnessing to Jesus, however, is hard to do. Olympianity is the world’s oldest and still most popular religion. Devotion to the six Olympian gods of politics, war, technology, sex, money, and consumption is deeply rooted in our culture and, because of that, in our Olympian personalities.

To live as witnesses to Jesus requires his grace, a different way of thinking, personal commitment, and the support of others.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Maria Anna Mozart, nicknamed “Nannerl,” was born in 1751. Her little brother Wolfgang was born on January 27, 1756. Both were born in Salzburg, Alpinia. Their father Leopold, from Augsburg, played violin at the court of the ruler of Salzburg, taught and composed music, and published a textbook on playing the violin the year his son was born.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ludwig van Beethoven: Later Years (1802-1827)

Middle (Heroic) period as a mature composer (October 1802-1814)
This period of Beethoven’s career began with his defiant return to Vienna from the small town of Heilgenstadt and his strong recommitment to his work as a composer. Important works of this period include symphonies 3 through 8, string quartets 7 through 11, the “Moonlight” and “Waldstein” sonatas, the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives, and the opera Fidelio.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ludwig van Beethoven: Early Years (1770-1802)

Childhood and youth in Bonn (1770-1787)
Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn on December 16, 1770. He was named after his paternal grandfather Lodewijk (1712-1773). Lodewijk was a professional bass singer at the court of the archbishop and ruler of Bonn and later became music director there.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Machiavelli (1469-1527): Olympian Theologian

Niccoló Machiavelli was born on May 3, 1469, in Florence. His father was a lawyer. As a youth he learned Latin and especially appreciated The History of Rome written by Livy (58 BC-AD 17).

On May 3, 1498, Niccoló turned 29. On May 23, Girolamo Savonarola was executed. Amidst the changes in the Florentine government which followed, Niccoló was elected secretary of the council responsible for the diplomacy and defense of the Republic of Florence.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, in the village of Vinci, about 19 miles (30 km) west of Florence. His father was a lawyer; his mother, a peasant. Leonardo was their illegitimate son. That meant he wouldn’t be able to work as a lawyer like his father. That also meant he could study what he wanted which, in Leonardo’s case, was best. Because of his limitless curiosity and great skill in many areas, Leonardo became widely regarded in his time and since as the quintessential Renaissance Man.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498): His Fall

In his sermon of January 13, 1495, Girolamo Savonarola reminded his thousands of listeners of how he had accurately prophesied the coming of Charles 8th as God’s instrument. He added that he had likewise accurately predicted the deaths of Lorenzo de’ Medici and Innocent 8th, pope, before either had died in 1492. He again promised that God would reward Florentines with great power and riches in response to their religious and political reforms as long as these continued. In a sermon on April 1, Girolamo told his listeners that the Virgin Mary herself, in a vision, had assured him of God’s promises and continuing protection.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498): His Rise

Girolamo Savonarola was born on September 21, 1452 in Ferrara, Latinia, a city about 94 miles (150 km) north of Florence and 55 miles (88 km) southwest of Venice.

As a teenager and young adult, Girolamo wrote poetry complaining about the corruption of the world and especially of the Latin Church. Following his own advice, which he wrote in an unfinished essay entitled “On Contempt for the World,” he imagined himself leaving the corrupt world by entering the Dominican monastery in nearby Bologna in 1475.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fra Angelico in Florence (1438-1445)

Guido di Pietro, later known as Fra Angelico (Angelic Brother), was born around 1400 in the town of Fiesole near Florence. By 1423 he had joined the Dominican Order there and had taken the name of Fra Giovanni. After his death he came to be called Fra Angelico in affirmation of both his saintly character and reverential paintings.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sandro Botticelli (ca 1445-1510)

Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, known to us as Sandro Botticelli, was born around 1445 in Florence. Little is known with any certainty about his childhood and early adulthood. By 1470, however, he was working on his own in Florence as a professional painter.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lorenzo de’ Medici (1449-1492)

Cosimo de’ Medici was almost 75 years old when he died in 1464. When Cosimo’s son died only five years later, his grandson Lorenzo (b. 1449) became ruler of both the Medici Bank and the Republic of Florence at the age of 20. He would die at the young age of 43 in 1492.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464)

Cosimo de’ Medici was born on September 27, 1389 in Florence. His father was the wealthy founder of the Medici Bank. Growing up, Cosimo eagerly learned everything he needed to know about banking. He also showed great skill in diplomacy. In 1420 his father gave him control of the family bank. At that time Florence was one of the largest and richest cities in Latin Christendom and the Medici Bank was Latin Christendom’s biggest.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Michelangelo (1475-1564)

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simon was born on March 6, 1475 in the town of Caprese about 60 miles (100 km) east of Florence. His interest in sculpture came early. Because his mother was long ill when he was a child, he lived with a stonecutter and his family in a village just outside of Florence. There he enjoyed learning how to be creative using a hammer and chisel.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Donatello (1386-1466)

Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, known to us more simply as Donatello, was born around 1386 in Florence.

As a teenager he went to Rome in 1402 with his older friend Filippo Brunelleschi (born 1377) to study its ancient sculptures and buildings. Following their surprisingly fruitful studies, his sculptures and Filippo’s buildings significantly influenced the arts of their age.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455)

Lorenzo Ghiberti was born near Florence in 1378. His father was a goldsmith and taught his son everything he knew about the craft.

In 1401 Lorenzo competed with Filippo Brunelleschi, a fellow goldsmith, and others for the honor of designing and casting new bronze doors for the Florence Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni). He won. A disappointed Brunelleschi abandoned sculpture for future glory as an architect.

The Bible: Old and New Testaments

Our Christian Bible is not actually one book but a collection of 66 small books. These books fall into one of two main sections: the Old Testament or the New Testament.

Testament means witness. The books of the Old Testament witness to God in ways that anticipate his coming to us in Jesus Christ. The books of the New Testament witness to the surprising ways that Jesus fulfilled all that was said of him in anticipation and, by doing so, gave us a whole new world.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446)

Filippo Brunelleschi was born in Florence in 1377. Little is known of his childhood and youth. He did join the silk guild, one of the seven major guilds of Florence at the time, and as a member of it became a master goldsmith in 1398.

In 1401 Filippo competed with Lorenzo Ghiberti, a fellow goldsmith, and others to win the honor of designing and casting new bronze doors for the Florence Baptistery. The honor went to Lorenzo.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Florence: Santa Maria del Fiore

Florentines built their first cathedral in the early 400s and dedicated it to St. Reparata. By the late 1200s that church building needed significant repairs and could no longer accommodate all the people wishing to worship there on Sundays. Municipal leaders decided to have a new one built. Construction started in 1296.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375)

Giovanni Boccaccio was born in or near Florence in 1313, the (likely illegitimate) son of a minor Florentine banker. His father made an advantageous marriage, got appointed head of the Bardi bank in Naples, and moved there with his family in 1326.

In Naples Giovanni studied accounting and then church law but never cared for either. Instead he pursued reading, writing, and relationships with women. All three benefited from his access to the royal court made possible by his father’s role as financial advisor to the king of Naples.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337)

Giotto was the first significant painter of the Renaissance--the rebirth of classical culture which began in Latinia (see "Map of Olympia" above). He depicted humans more realistically than painters had for a thousand years.

He apparently was the son of a blacksmith and born around 1267 in a village near Florence. Little is known of his childhood and youth.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374)

Francesco Petrarch was born on July 20, 1304, in a small town in Tuscany near Florence. Although his father and Dante were friends, Francesco later claimed he never read Dante’s Divine Comedy.

At his father’s insistence, he studied law for seven long years (1319-26) at universities in Montpelier and Bologna. He never, however, became a lawyer. He believed the legal system made a commodity of justice and simply sold it to the highest bidder. In 1325 he bought his first book: The City of God by Augustine of Hippo.