Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Softcore Irony

The above image depicts the 1498 execution of Girolamo Savonarola - the Dominican preacher and one-time leader of Florence. He fervently opposed the pervasive ideas of the Renaissance which he viewed as decadent and sacrilegious. Ultimately he ended up being tortured and executed on the order of Pope Alexander VI, with an infinity of charges brought against him, including heresy and other 'religious errors' .
What is most fascinating about the image however is not only its subject matter but the style in which it is painted for as you can observe, the floor is divided up into an Albertian grid and exhibits a classical single-point perspective - all typical Renaissance features in the visual arts.
Ironically therefore, even the painting which depicts the execution of Savonarola is stylistically in accord with the principles which he himself so ardently opposed...
O long live enlightenment!