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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

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Savonarola, Girolamo

(b Ferrara, 21 Sept 1452; d Florence, 23 May 1498). Italian friar, preacher and writer. His grandfather was the famous author and physician Michele Savonarola (c. 1385–1464) and his father, Niccolò Savonarola, a prominent doctor at the court of Ferrara. In 1475 Savonarola left Ferrara and entered the Dominican monastery of S Domenico, Bologna, where he studied theology until 1479. He returned to Ferrara in 1481 to preach at the convent of the Angeli and made visits to Florence between 1482 and 1487. In 1487 he was appointed Master of Studies in the studium generale of S Domenico, Bologna. In 1490 he was transferred, at the request of Lorenzo the Magnificent, to S Marco in Florence and was made a prior there in 1491. As early as 1472 he had composed a canzone entitled De ruina mundi, berating the corruption of the world, a theme to which he often returned. . . . Savonarola is associated with the Bruciamenti delle Vanità (bonfires of the vanities), especially with the two that took place on 7 February 1497 and 27 February 1498, in which dice, playing cards, cosmetics, mirrors, false hair, profane books and even paintings were destroyed.