There is a certain fascination in life when humans at a certain time become retrospective. The Renaissance or rebirth in Italy during the Quattrocento period epitomized this phenomenon. Throughout history and only during Renaissance have humans been able to embed a sense of urgency to relearn the ideas and culture of antiquity. Among the city-states on the Italian Peninsula, the Florentine Republic was on the verge of being the most prominent center of the Renaissance. Many contributing factors such as the influential families, the various guilds, politicians, and learned men propelled Florence to new heights of achievement; these include artistic expression, philosophical views—not seen since the days of Ancient Greece and Rome, diplomacy and government, advanced financial institutions, et al. However, it is important to point out that many remnants of the previous era hitherto were still in existence and profound as well—such as the ecclesiastical teaching of the Catholic Church—which was static—and a quasi-feudalistic mentality of the populace.
Concerning the Catholic Church, one must understand that it had excessive control over a significant portion of the populace of Europe at that time. It had virtual control over scholasticism, matrimony, finance, and every aspect of known activity; however, some individuals—such as political figures such like Cosimo de' Medici and scholars such as Marsilio Ficino—saw the potential of studying and utilizing the classics.
Resistance to change is a pertinent aspect of human nature—regardless of the era. . Individuals or groups of individuals who saw that things as they were could not provide adequate answers began to ask many questions. The humanists of the Renaissance were in a position to understand that the era preceding theirs was obsolete; furthermore, they knew that some crucial aspects of Western civilization lost, discarded, or completely ignored. The process undertaken by people of the Renaissance to look back to antiquity was also a refreshing impetus to build on the ideas and traditions already in place—if so modify them for the better. On the contrary, the emphasis was to portray the greatness of man and not complete submission to Christian dogma.
One does not recount or associate the history of Florentine Republic without mentioning or alluding to the Medici family. This family controlled and dominated the Florentine Republic from 1434 to 1494 (Matthews, Platt and Noble 307). Although the main source of income was banking, the Medici family's rise to power during the Quattrocento period was the culmination of the use of political meandering, bribery, indirect coercion, nepotism, et cetera. What was interesting about them was, notwithstanding the entire negative pitfalls, they were able to patronize the arts. This patronage was possible because the massive profits yielded by the Medici bank. In addition, the patronage of the arts was able build credibility among the citizenry of...