The meeting of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn with François I of France in Calais

Imagine that we are in the city of Calais in Tudor England.  This place had a special meaning for King Henry VIII because it was the last remnant of the once substantial English possessions on the continent.  King Henry and his beloved Anne Boleyn sailed to Calais to meet with...

Claudin de Sermisy: a genius composer of the French Renaissance

Claudin de Sermisy (born circa 1490) passed away on the 13th of October 1562.  Together with Clément Janequin, his friend and also rival for the affections of the art-loving King François I of France and for his popularity, he was one of the most important and famed composers of French...

King François I of France: a godfather of the French Renaissance

King François I of France was born on the 12th of September at Cognac, Aquitaine, France.  The only son of Charles d’Orléans, Count d’Angoulême, and his wife, Louise de Savoy, François was a great-great-grandson of King Charles V of France called the Wise (le Sage).  A son of the man with...

Tiziano Vecelli, or simply Titian: ‘The Sun Amidst Small Stars’

Titian, one of the most prominent Renaissance artists, was born as Tiziano Vecelli or Vecellio in Cadore, in the Republic of Venice sometime around 1488 to 1490.  Regarded as the most important Renaissance member of the 16th-century Venetian school of art, he was called ‘The Sun Amidst Small Stars’, echoing...

The establishment of the famous Italian House of Gonzaga in Mantua

On the 16th of 1328, the famous Italian House of Gonzaga seized power in the Duchy of Mantua, and ruled until 1708.   Starting from the 12th century, the family was growing their wealth, becoming a dominant one in Mantua.  Allied with the Bonacolsi, they together defeated their common enemy –...

Guillaume Dufay: a renowned Franco-Flemish composer

Guillaume Dufay was born on the 5th of August 1397 near Brussels, Burgundian Netherlands (modern Belgium).  Becoming a renowned Franco-Flemish composer, he lived a long life and died on the 27th of November 1474 in Cambrai (modern France).  Being probably the illegitimate son of a priest and Marie Dufay, Guillaume...

Francesco Petrarca: death of ‘the Father of humanism’

Francesco Petrarca, commonly known anglicized as Petrarch, died on the 18 or 19th of 1374.  He was a great and celebrated Italian scholar and poet during the early Italian Renaissance and one of the earliest humanists.  Petrarch’s great legacy includes his philosophy of humanism that profoundly influenced intellectual accomplishments of...

Isabella de’ Medici: death at the hands of her husband for alleged adultery

Isabella Romola de’ Medici, daughter of Cosimo I de’ Medici and his first wife, Eleanor of Toledo, died on the 16th of July 1576. She was Duchess of Bracciano by marriage.   Born in Florence, the girl was raised with her brothers and sisters in the Palazzo Vecchio and later in...

Charles VIII of France: accidental death after a momentary glory in Italy

Charles VIII of France, known as the Affable, was born at Château d'Amboise on the 30th of June 1470.  He was the only surviving son of King Louis XI of France, called the Prudent and the Spider, and his second queen, Charlotte de Savoy.  His four brothers were all either...

King François I’s Book of Hours!

King François I’s Book of Hours! It belonged to the art-loving Knight-King, the first Renaissance King of France! It appears in my novels from time to time as François uses it quite often for prayers. Purchased in the 1530s, François used it every day. It is a stunning masterpiece of...

The Château de Chenonceau: “Château des Dames” of the Loire Valley

The Château de Chenonceau is a magnificent castle spanning the River Cher.  It is located close to the village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France.  One of the most famous châteaux of the Loire valley, it is a unique Renaissance castle, a fairytale and...

Marriage of François d’Angoulême and Claude of France

On the 18th of May 1514, François d’Angoulême, the future King François I of France, married his distant cousin Claude, the eldest of the two surviving daughters of Queen Anne and King Louis XII.  The quiet ceremony took place in the atmosphere of lament in a chapel at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which...

Golden Florentine Renaissance: Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli, born as Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, lived at the time when all things intellectual, humanistic, and progressive flourished in the Florentine Republic.  The city was truly the cradle of the new era dawning.  The artist belonged to the Florentine School under the patronage of Lorenzo de’...

Leonardo Da Vinci: a genius’s life in Italy and his last years in France

Leonardo Da Vinci was born on the 14 or 15th of April 1452 in the Tuscan town of Vinci, in the Republic of Florence.  He was undoubtedly the quintessential Renaissance man, one who spent most of his life in Italy and his last years in France.  Leonardo’s areas of interest...