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Duecento: Italian culture in the 13th century

Updated on October 3, 2019

La Reverdie


This was the era of St. Francis, St. Clare, St. Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Beatrice, Giotto, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Bonaventure, the mathematician Fibonacci, the medical doctor Theodoric Borgognoni, and Marco Polo.

Thomistic Institute Recorded Lectures

The Catholic Church and the Creation of the University

Catholic Scientists & Mathematicians

Stories of the Italian Artists from Vasari

Fibonacci Numbers and Nature

Giotto and Duccio: Christ Entering Jerusalem

The Travels of Marco Polo

Who's Deluded? An Atheist Just Doesn't Get Aquinas

Vita Nuova

Twelfth Ecumenical Council: Lateran IV 1215

Salimbene: On Frederick II

Ezzelino da Romano and Oberto Pallavicino, allies of Frederick II, vied with him in brutality.

The Golden Legend

A, E, I, O and U: Bonvesin de la Riva and the Marvels of Milan

Peter de Vinea:

The Thirteenth Greatest of Centuries

The spirit of the 1200s was generated by Christians embracing the natural or physical world. Consider Thomas’ theory of perception (God created the human mind to understand and the world to be understood.) and Francis’ closeness to nature and Giotto’s realistic paintings. Italian explorers were curious about, Italian friars were involved with, Italian scientists were focused on God's Creation.

The thirteenth century was one of the most crucial times in history. The achievements of the thirteenth century led to the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery and the Scientific Revolution and eventually to the rise of limited government.

Simone Martini
Simone Martini
Giotto Jesus and the 12
Giotto Jesus and the 12

There is so much to love about Italian art in the 1200s: the paintings with gold leaf and lapis lazuli as well as the realistic angels.

Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua
Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua
Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella
Marco Polo in Cambay, India
Marco Polo in Cambay, India

In the Inferno Canto XI Dante wrote: Your art follows nature, when it can just as a pupil imitates his master; so that your art is almost God’s grandchild.

Inferno 11

Nicola Pisano
Nicola Pisano

The 12 Apostles went out into the world spreading the teaching of Jesus. In the 1200s Christians also went out into the world. Is this a coincidence?

The Church proclaimed God in 3 persons in the 300s. Is this a coincidence too?


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