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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art

Ficino, Marsilio

(b Figline Valdarno, nr Florence, 19 Oct 1433; d Florence, 1499). Italian philosopher and writer. After studying the humanistic disciplines, medicine and philosophy in Florence, he embarked on the study of Platonism, sponsored by Cosimo de’ Medici and later Lorenzo. He translated the complete works of Plato into Latin (published 1484) and also wrote elaborate commentaries on some of the dialogues. His interpretation of Plato was Neo-Platonic, heavily based on Plotinus, whose Enneads he also translated and commented upon. Always concerned to stress the compatibility of Platonism with Christianity, in 1473 he became a priest. The ‘Platonic Academy’, which he led and inspired, was not a formal institution but rather a circle of friends who shared a common enthusiasm for Platonic philosophy.

Jill Kraye