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Fame and obscurity

The lives of Girolamo Magi (Anghiari 1523/8 – Constantinople 1571) and Federigo Nomi (Anghiari 1633 – Monterchi 1705), while different in so many ways, are both examples of lives spent in furthering the progress that has characterised the march of European history. In exploring their lives, the exhibition sets out to highlight the extent to which the bourgeoisie in smaller towns in Tuscany, Italy and indeed Europe as a whole, drove the outcome of events – in other words, its (integral) part in the intellectual “battles” that determined the development of thought. Magi’s and Nomi’s lives were strikingly modern, ceaselessly evolving, yet their reputation has failed to do justice to that modernity.

These two “embattled” thinkers, though minor figures in our eyes, helped to shape the cultural panorama of the 16th and 17th centuries. Despite their differences, they shared a similar fate, consisting of an unflagging literary output associated with mournful military events, followed by obscurity. The exhibition aims ideally to redeem the memory of these two men and, in so doing, to breathe new life into a lesson of relevance to ourown day embodied in figurative terms in the parable of the beam and the mote:

Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Luke 6:39-45).


On display