Comparison Of Culture To Horticulture
Petrarch, who was a practical gardener, viewed the rebirth of culture as plants regrowing in the sunlight of spring. Petrarch's French disciple Nicolas de Clamanges refers to flowers together with the Latin term renasci, meaning "to grow again" or "to be reborn." Boccaccio praised Dante for inviting back the Muses and Giotto for restoring the art of painting. Borrowing from the ancient vegetative imagery, such as the older Cato's image of a broken clover regrowing and Pliny's examples of vegetative matter regrowing as sprouts, humanists praised the work of fourteenth-century Italian artists and writers. Northern humanists continued a strategy of nourishing, cultivating, and transplanting from classical texts and images the seeds of virtue and knowledge. In the circle of King Francis I of France, in flowery rhetoric humanists praised him for the rebirth (renaître) of letters, and in the architecture, decorative arts, and manuscript and book collections in the court at Fontainebleau, there was a "renaissance of arts and letters." Visual evidence for concepts of the rebirth of culture include Simone Martini's illumination that Petrarch commissioned for his copy of Virgil's Georgics and Eclogues, Da Vinci's image of a trunk resprouting (a botanical lesson from Virgil's Georgics), and Botticelli's Primavera.
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