Tag Archives: medieval

Five common realities – facts and logic 2

“On my trip on foot from Rome to Amsterdam, I had stayed a few weeks with friends in Florence. One of my friends had taken me to Piazza del Carmine to show the Santa Maria del Carmine Church containing the Cappella Brancacci”, says Narrator.

“On the outside it looks like a weathered warehouse, although the main entrance suggests otherwise,” says Carla.

“Many churches in Italy look closed on the outside; the beauty is shown inside, “says Man.

“For the tourists the access to the Chapel is through the door on the right side in white stucco wall of the monastery, but first we look at the Church,” says Narrator.

Santa Maria del Carmine[1]

“It is true, the wealth is inside the Church. This abundance is too much for me “, says Carla.

Feiten en Logica 2[2]

“I brought you here to show the ceiling in combination with the walls. By the painting on the ceiling, it seems like the Church passes directly into the heaven. In this part of the church heaven and earth are joined together, with the transition of the walls to the ceiling as separation”, says Narrator.

“The ceiling is a half cylinder, but by the very cleaver “trompe d’oeil” [3] in the painting on the ceiling, the spectator seems to be drawn into heaven. The medieval scholasticism is shown in all its splendour on this ceiling”, says Man.

 “Artificially, but cleverly made”, says Carla.

Feiten en Logica 2a[4]

“The Cappella Brancacci [5] is on the right side of the altar; for our visit to the frescoes we must enter the chapel outside via the monastery’s entrance on the right side of the Church”, says Narrator.

“That is done to limit the visit of this Chapel and with the revenue the maintenance of the chapel can be paid”, says Man.

“I show you these frescoes in the chapel, because the two main painters of this Chapel personify the transition from the Medieval to the Renaissance. Masolino da Panicale painted the people to ideal images according to the Scholasticism in a medieval style, while Masaccio depicts the people as individuals in all their glory and wealth. On the upper part on the right wall of the chapel, both styles can be seen in one fresco”, says Narrator.

Feiten en Logica 2b[6]

“I prefer the ideal images of the people made by Masolino; Masaccio’s individuals are – in my opinion –  also ideal images, that wish to show their profane opulence and earthly well-being too obviously,” says Carla.

“I’m stupified by this transition of style, world view and display within a fresco”, says Man.

Feiten en Logica 2c[7]

“Now I will take you to the Uffizi Art museum on a 15-minutes walk from this Chapel. There I wish to show you a self-portrait by Albrecht Dürer. I already bought tickets, so we do not need to stand in the line”, says Narrator.

“May we visit the Basilica Santa Maria del Santo Spirito [8] designed by Brunelleschi? This early Renaissance Basilica has beautiful dimensions”, says Man.

Feiten en Logica 2d[9]

“Is there the Crucifix of Michelangelo?”, asks Carla.

Feiten en Logica 2e[10]

“That is correct, let us first have a drink on the square in front of the Basilica,” says Narrator.

After visiting the Basilica Carla, Man, and Narrator go to the Uffizi Museum [11]. First they look at the Renaissance paintings, including “The birth of Venus” by Botticelli.

feiten en logica 2f[12]

Then they arrive at the self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer.

feiten en logica 2g[13]

“I wish to show you this self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer, because with this painting Dürer ignores the Scholastic ideal image of a man at the end of the Middle Ages; he transcends in this self-portrait also the individual presentation of earthly wealth and profane splendour of the Renaissance. Here is a man that we can meet in the streets in Germany today. This self-portrait has the characteristics of a contemporary photo; It looks like a snapshot “, says Narrator.

“Marvellous, except his clothes, I might meet him today on the street in Germany. After many centuries with images of people like the painter and the spectators thought they looked like or thought they should look like, Dürer and his contemporaries noticed how people looked like in reality and they had the skills to depict it in a painting. When I see this painting – that actually is a picture or snapshot – I am reminded of the essay “On Photography” by Susan Sontag [14]. She states in this essay that people feel the reality so overwhelming, that they need the framing of a picture to be able to observe and process an image of reality. This self-portrait is quite familiar, but at the same time I still miss an awful lot. I would like to ask so many questions to this man; I really would like to meet him for a few days and to live with him together in his world. This self-portrait gives a glimpse of the man Albrecht Dürer and at the same time the portrait deprives my image of him. Susan Sontag in her essay did go one step further: she states that the reality is so inconceivable and overwhelming, that people need the use of a camera to shield themselves from the environment; only through a picture or photo, people can experience and digest the framing and stillness of the really; holidays are really experienced at home while viewing the photos”, says Man.

“I have the same mixed feelings: wonderful to see Albrecht Dürer and at the same time it is unreal. When you mentioned the essay by Susan Sontag, I was reminded of the “Theory of the look” by Jean Paul Sartre [15]: by my look at the self-portrait, I make a thing of Albrecht Dürer and thus I deny his person and memory a large part of his freedom. This portrait is for me a “pars pro toto” where the part – the self-portrait or picture of Albrecht Dürer – takes the place of the whole. My question upon seeing the self-portrait remains: “Who are you?”, says Carla.

“My American beloved had studied on the question “Who are we?” in Sweden and later in a monastery in America. Maybe he had found an answer to this question by solving Buddhist question [16] and maybe this “pars pro toto” – that people need in their observations – fits very well within the metaphor of “Indra’s Net” [17]”, says Narrator.

“Perhaps you are right with this metaphor; people look at a glass pearl within Indra’s Net and they experience in this – indirect – manner the entire interconnected Net of glass pearls that reflect in each other. Tonight at dinner, I would like to share with you my view on “facts and logic” of “Who are you?”. Today we have a wonderful start on this part of the search for “Who are you?” didn’t we?”, says Man Leben.

“Later I’d like to show you the world of ordered chaos, but now I’m tired. Narrator, thank you for this tour and both of you, thanks for your company. I need my afternoon siesta. See you tonight at dinner”, says Carla.

“I’m glad you appreciated my preparation. I’m going to visit a good friend this afternoon”, says Narrator.

“Then I will visit two book stores this afternoon”, says Man.

[1] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria_del_Carmine,_Florence

[2] Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_Santa_Maria_del_Carmine_(Firenze)

[3] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trompe-l’%C5%93il

[4] Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_Santa_Maria_del_Carmine_(Firenze)

[5] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brancacci_Chapel; the frescoes in the chapel can be seen on this Web page.

[6] Fresco on the upper part on the right wall of the Chapel. Source image: http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaplica_Brancaccich

[7] Detail of the Fresco on the upper part on the right wall of the Chapel. Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cappella_Brancacci

[8] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santo_Spirito,_Florence

[9] Floor plan of the Basilica. Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santo_Spirito_(Florenz)

[10] Crucifix made by Michelangelo. Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_Santo_Spirito

[11] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffizi

[12] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffizi

[13] Self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer. Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albrecht_D%C3%BCrer

[14] See also: Sontag, Susan, On Photography. New York: Dell Publishing Co. Inc., 1978

[15] See also: Nārāyana, Narrator, “Carla Drift – An Outlier, A Biography”. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012, p. 34

[16] See also: Leben, Man, Narrator – One Way. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2013, p. 99 – 136

[17] See also: Origo, Jan van, Who are you – A survey into our existence – 1. Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012, p. 65 – 67


Five common realities – facts and logic

On our contemporary Odyssey to “Who are you” we arrived for our fourth stage “facts and logic” in Florence.

Why do we start our stage “facts and logic” in Florence?

The emergence of the first facts and logic in people is shrouded in mystery [1]. How did mankind for the first time become consciously aware of a fact? When using a stone as a melee weapon or during love feelings for descendants? How did mankind for the first time consciously notice a logical link? When consciously eating plants with specific properties or on foreseeing pregnancy after sexual intercourse? We do not know.


At this fourth stage, we wish to avoid the world of religion [3] – or where people fall back upon when interpretation should be given to the unknown, because at other stages during our quest we will address religion adequately.

IMG_1408 (1)[4]

Due to time constraints, we also ignore the genesis and further development of philosophy in ancient times [5].

Our fourth stage “facts and logic” starts at the transition from the medieval Scholasticism [6] to the Renaissance. Both philosophies have attempted to consider the world as deterministic, that is: when the principles and the internal rules are known, then the past, the present and the future are determined. Both philosophical currents had made every effort to determine the order and the internal rules to get grip and insight into our world centred around God [7] within the Scholasticism, or around mankind and human reason within the ruling elite in the Renaissance [8].

From the beginning, Christianity has never stopped to debate the relationship between truth revealed from God in the Holy Scriptures and the continuous discovery of truth and facts by human reason – also seen as a gift of God within the Christian faith [9]; these debates reached their peak in expansion and complexity during the heyday of Scholasticism.

At the beginning of the Renaissance in and around Florence the origin for the discovery of the actual reality permanently shifted from the revelations by God in the Holy Scriptures to human reason centred around mankind. According to the Old Testament the earth – founded by God – will never move [10], but around 1600 AD Copernicus [11] and Kepler had conclusively shown that the earth revolved around the Sun. Galileo Galilei had defended this factual discovery in 1632 AD in his writing Dialogo sopra i due Massimi Sistemi di Galileo Galilei del Mondo Tolemaico e Copernicano (Dialogue from Galileo Galilei over the two main world systems, the Ptolemaic and Copernican) in front of the Church Inquisition. The Christian Church had sentenced him in 1633 AD to house arrest and permanently banned the Dialogo. Over 100 years later – in 1737 AD – Galilei was reburied from a humble graveyard to a tomb in the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence. In October 1992 AD the name of Galilei was finally purified by the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II [12].

graftombe galilei[13]

The continuum of the transition of Scholasticism into the Renaissance is perceived at our visit to the Santa Maria del Carmine [14] and in it the Cappella Brancacci located in Piazza del Carmine [15] in Florence.

Santa Maria del Carmine[16]

The following post will include the report of this visit.

[1] For interested readers: a small corner of the veil over the early emergence of facts and logic is lifted in: Arsuaga, Juan Luis, Het halssieraad van de Neanderthaler – Op zoek naar de eerste denkers. Amsterdam: Wereldbibiotheek: 1999; in: Lewis-Williams, David & Pearce, David, Inside the neolitic Mind. London: Thames & Hudson, 2009; and in: Beyens, Louis, De Graangodin – Het ontstaan van de landbouwcultuur. Amsterdam: Atlas, 2004

[2] Image of the Venus of Willendorf estimated to have been made more than 20,000 years BCE. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Willendorf

[3] For the emergence and development of religious ideas, we refer to the studies: Eliade, Mircea, A History of Religious Ideas, Volume 1. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982; Johnston, Sarah Iles (ed.), Religions of the Ancient World – a Guide. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004;  Mallory, J.P. & Adams, D.Q., The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007

[4] Stone circles in the Middle of England. Source image: Marieke Grijpink

[5] There are several standard works on the history of philosophy.

[6] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholasticism

[7] For example: the Five arguments for the existence of God in de Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas

[8] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance

[9] See also: MacCulloch, Diarmond, Christianity – The first three thousand Years. New York: Viking, 2010 p. 141

[10] See amongst others: Psalms 93:1, 96:10, 105:5 and 1 Chronicles 16:30

[11] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaas_Copernicus

[12] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

[13] Tomb of Galileï in the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence. Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

[14] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria_del_Carmine,_Florence

[15] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brancacci_Chapel

[16] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria_del_Carmine,_Florence