Conte Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, 1463 - 1494
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola was an Italian philosopher, scholar, Neoplatonist, and humanist whose aim was to conciliate religion and philosophy. Like his teacher, Marsilio Ficino
, he based his views chiefly on Plato
, though his work synthesizes all the strains of Renaissance and late medieval thinking: Neoplatonism, humanism, Aristotelianism, Averroism (a form of Aristotelianism), and mysticism. Around 1480 he published Heptaplus
in Florence. Perhaps his most eloquent work is the Oration on the Dignity of Man
, which serves as a forceful "manifesto" of the Italian Renaissance. It thoroughly remaps the human landscape to center all attention on human capacity and the human perspective. Pico had a massive intellect and literally studied everything there was to be studied in the university curriculum of the Renaissance; the Oration
in part is meant to be a preface to a massive compendium of all the intellectual achievements of humanity--a compendium that never appeared because of his early death. After Pico returned to Rome in 1486, many scholars came from a distance to engage with him in public discussion on all possible subjects. Because of his intellectual attainments and criticism of astrology, Pico marks an era and a decisive progressive movement in ideas. He died in Florence, and Savonarola
delivered his funeral oration.