The Tragedy of Gaston de Foix, a stellar military commander

Gaston de Foix, Duke de Nemours, was born on the 10th of December 1489 to Jean de Foix, Viscount de Narbonne, and his wife, Marie d’Orléans, in the town of Mazères, County of Foix. Gaston was also Count d’Étampes and Viscount de Narbonne, for his father died in 1500. From...

The Pléiade: the late Renaissance poet Jean-Antoine de Baïf

The late Renaissance poet Jean Antoine de Baïf was born on the 19th of February 1532 (died on the 19th of September 1589). A member of the Pléiade, he headed this literary group together its chief members such as Pierre de Ronsard and Joachim du Bellay. These men met at...

A forgotten Valois prince: Charles, Count d’Angoulême and father of King François I (part 2)

Charles d’Orléans, Count d’Angoulême, spent a lot of money on books. He had a network of agents in Italy, France, and other countries, who purchased rare and old manuscripts for him. The count collected in his library at Château de Cognac. His large library included more than 1000 manuscripts. Charles...

A forgotten Valois prince: Charles, Count d’Angoulême and father of King François I (part 1)

Charles d’Orléans, Count d’Angoulême (born in 1459 and died on the 1st of January 1496) was a member of the French Valois-Orléans-Angoulême branch of the royal House of Valois.  He was descended from Louis I, Duke d’Orléans, who was the youngest surviving son of King Charles V of France known...

Veronica Gambara: a Renaissance poetess and stateswoman

Veronica Gambara was born on the 29 or 30th of November 1485 (she died on the 13th of June 1550). This illustrious woman was not only an Italian poet, stateswoman, and political leader, but also the ruler of the County of Corregio from 1518 until 1550. Veronica was born in...

The goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini: a turbulent and artistic soul

Born on the 3rd of November 1500 in Florence, Benvenuto Cellini was a son of Giovanni Cellini and Maria Lisabetta Granacci.  As his father and mother were a musician and a creator of musical instruments, Benvenuto’s father wanted his son to become a musician.  At the age of 15, Giovanni...

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...