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Random Renaissance Era Quotes (Well, mostly)

Giulio Romano

Giulio Romano (ca 1499? – November 1, 1546) was an Italian painter, architect, and decorator. He was a prime pupil of Raphael. His deviations from high Renaissance classicism helped define the 16th-century style called Mannerism. Giulio’s drawings have always been treasured by collectors, and the contemporary engravings after his drawings and paintings by Marcantonio Raimondi and others helped spread 16th-century Italian style throughout Europe.

In Rome, as a young assistant in Raphael’s, Giulio worked on many frescoes in the Vatican loggias (from designs by Raphael) and in Raphael’s Stanze of the Vatican a group of figures in the “Fire in the Borgo” fresco, and also collaborated on the decoration of the ceiling of the Villa Farnesina. After the death of Raphael in 1520, he helped complete the frescoes of the life of Constantine in the Vatican as well as Raphael’s Coronation of the Virgin and the Transfiguration in the Vatican. In Rome, Giulio decorated the Villa Madama for Cardinal Giuliano de’ Medici, afterward Clement VII.

With the sack of Rome in 1527 and the death of Leo X, art patronage in Rome slackened. Vasari tells how Baldassare Castiglione was delegated by Federico Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, to procure Giulio to execute paintings and architectural and engineering projects, most famously the Palazzo del Te, just outside the city, with its famous illusionistic frescos (ca 1525 – 1535). He also rebuilt the ducal palace in Mantua, reconstructed the cathedral, and designed the nearby Church of San Benedetto. Sections of Mantua that had been flood-prone were handsomely rebuilt under Giulio’s direction, and the duke’s patronage and friendship never faltered: Giulio’s annual income amounted to more than 1000 ducats. Around him and his studio was established a school of art.

In Renaissance tradition, many works of Giulio’s were only temporary:

“When Charles V came to Mantua, Giulio, by the duke’s order, [Giulio] made many fine arches, scenes for comedies and other things,in which he had no peer, no one being like him for masquerades, and making curious costumes for jousts, feasts, tournaments, which excited great wonder in the emperor and in all present. For the city of Mantua at various times he designed temples, chapels, houses, gardens, facades, and was so fond of decorating them that, by his industry, he rendered dry, healthy, and pleasant places previously miry, full of stagnant water, and almost uninhabitable.”

– Vasari, Vita

Giulio also designed tapestries and the erotic album I Modi which was expertly engraved by Raimondi, a project that landed him in jail in Rome.

In 1546, just as he was appointed architect to St. Peter’s, Giulio Romano died.

Well-known paintings:

  1. The Stoning of St. Stephen (Santo Stefano, Genoa): “Giulio never did a finer work than this,” said Vasari. Domenico del Barbiere engraved the subject, so that it influenced designers who never saw the original in Genoa.
  2. Adoration of the Magi (Louvre).

Giulio Romano has the distinction of being the only Renaissance artist to be mentioned by William Shakespeare. In Act IV, Scene II of The Winter’s Tale Queen Hermione’s statue is by “that rare Italian master, Julio Romano”, although Giulio was not a sculptor.

A touch of “Swan Song” and a dash of “The Stand”…Very good post-apocalyptic tale in the mode and mood of R. McCammon’s “Swan Song” and S. King’s “The Stand”. ★★★★★

Excerpt from Troop of Shadows:

Prologue
Colleyville, Texas
October

Dani cursed the weight of her backpack. The final two items from the ransacked Walgreens, crammed in as an afterthought ten minutes ago, might cost her everything. After surviving the last twelve months of hell only to be thwarted now by a can of Similac and a twelve-pack of Zest soap, would be sadly anticlimactic. Despite running at a full sprint down a dark suburban street, dodging overflowing garbage cans while eluding three men who would steal her hard-won tubes of Neosporin and likely rape and kill her in the process, she snorted at the thought of a fictional headline: Young Woman’s Life Ends Tragically but Zestfully Clean.

Damn it, she would ditch the backpack. She could come back tomorrow night for it, but right now staying alive outweighed any future benefit its contents might provide. As her pursuers rounded the corner behind her, she darted across the front lawn of a house and leaped over a cluster of dead juniper shrubs. A year ago, those shrubs had been green, manicured, and providing curb appeal to the upscale neighborhood; they functioned now as a hurdle component in the obstacle course Dani navigated on most nights.

She angled toward the side of the house and around the corner, only to come to an abrupt stop next to a six-foot barricade. Residents of these sprawling bedroom communities situated between Dallas and Fort Worth clung to their privacy fences as fiercely as their rural counterparts did to their firearms. Why all those day-trading dads and cheerleader moms required such secrecy was beyond Dani. She didn’t care. All that mattered was how difficult they made her nightly forages. Only idiots or people with a death wish traveled alone on the streets anymore. The clever ones navigated through backyards and drainage ditches, shadowed easements and alleyway, avoiding open spaces and other humans.

Especially humans traveling in groups.

Stealth and caution were second nature to her now, and she was pissed at herself for loading up the backpack with more weight than she could easily carry at a full run.

Rookie mistake.

She flung the pack into the undergrowth of a once meticulous garden, making a mental note of the enormous red tip photinia which camouflaged the bundle in a leafy shroud. She hoped to be alive the next day to retrieve it.

She clambered up the fence, finding a toehold on a warped plank, and squirmed over the top. A silver fingernail of a moon did little to illuminate the backyard. Weak starlight reflected off the inky surface of a half-empty, kidney-shaped swimming pool. Her Nikes gripped the concrete deck as she skirted the murky water and made a beeline for the back of the yard that was, of course, separated from its neighbor by a privacy fence. It was a tall one too — a full ten feet. There were no bushes or trees to use for leverage either. She scanned the area for anything that might serve as a step ladder.

Of all the yards she could have chosen for her escape, she’d picked one with a damn ten-foot fence.

Her heart raced from the sprint, but not from panic. Gone was the young woman from a year ago, the full-time floundering college dropout and part-time surly Starbucks barista who spent too much time reading books and not enough time looking for a job that would allow her to move out of her parents’ house. She was too smart for her own good, everyone had told her. She should have taken that secretarial position in North Dallas, but she would have lost her sanity in that environment. The tedious filing, the ringing phones, the office politics — in other words, hell on earth for a girl with an IQ over a hundred and fifty.

Despite the recent horrors, she’d come into her own at last, after twenty-one years of meandering through life unfocused and unchallenged. The extra twenty pounds she’d been carrying courtesy of Freddy’s cheeseburgers and Taco Bell burritos were gone, thanks to her newfound self-discipline and endless hours of Krav Maga training with Sam. Not only had she transformed her body, she’d elevated and strengthened her mind as well. Before the power had gone out, she’d watched countless tutorials on T’ai Chi, Qigong, and Buddhist meditation. During that same window — when people were beginning to get sick, but before most of them had died — she’d combed book stores and libraries within a fifteen-mile radius. When the country went dark and people realized that life-saving information was no longer available with a few keystrokes, Dani had amassed reference material on subjects as diverse as hydroponics and combat first aid, ancient meat drying techniques and bomb making. Between martial arts lessons with Sam, she spent every spare minute absorbing the printed esoteric knowledge like a greedy lizard on a sun-drenched rock.

Knowledge was survival.

When the first of the men slithered over the fence into the backyard, she hadn’t found anything to use as a foothold. Another figure followed behind him. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and released it from her lungs, slow and measured, then took off at a full run toward them. While she ran, fingers slid down to a leather sheath secured to her belt. Two seconds before she reached the first of her would-be assailants, a Ka-Bar — the grandaddy of tactical knives — was in her hand.

Dani used momentum and every ounce of her one-hundred-twenty pound frame to slam the first man into the second, knocking both assailants off-balance and unprepared for her next move: a vicious stab to the groin of the first. He collapsed to his knees. She followed with a backhand movement, opening up the throat of his companion. A similar gesture to the man with the injured groin silenced his moaning.

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