Stargates - Stéphane Toussaint: 'Ficino and the Sun - New Insight and New Documents'

Stargates - Stéphane Toussaint: 'Ficino and the Sun - New Insight and New Documents'
26 May 2021, 17:30 to 26 May 2021, 19:00

Stéphane Toussaint (CNRS, Centre André Chastel): 'Ficino and the Sun - New Insight and New Documents'


In much of modern ficinian studies, astrology, magic and theurgy are usually connected. But among other stars and planets of the Ptolemaic system, for Ficino, the Sun had a highly specific status. It is well known that between 1469 and 1493, from the De amore to the De sole, Ficino applied his genius to the elaboration of a strongly heliocentric theology, on the verge of heterodoxy. During a short period of time between 1476 and 1479, Ficino wrote small but very significant treatises: Quid sit lumen and Orphica comparatio Solis. Moreover, in a letter to the great banker Francesco Sassetti, dated 1478, Ficino reassumed his central tenet: the Sun is the emanation of an infinite divinity. By the way, in 1907 Warburg had devoted an impressive study to the psychology of the banker Francesco Sassetti. According to Warburg, in Sassetti's testament can be seen an oscillation between “medieval” trust in God and the "self-reliance of Renaissance man", symbolized by the centaur. Since 1902 Warburg had observed the importance of the centaur in the Sassetti Chapel in Santa Trinita, but he had neglected, if not avoided, the solar symbolism in Ficino's letter to Sassetti, as well as in Sassetti's chapel. Why? Answering this question will lead us to some new discoveries.

Stargates - The Magic of Images from Heka to the Monas Hieroglyphica is a lecture series dedicated to the material aspects of making magical images. Following a chronological sequence in order to underline the transformations, continuities, and discontinuities from ancient to “modern” practices, this series builds on the legacy of the Warburg Institute scholars D.P. Walker and Frances Yates.

Organised by Luisa Capodieci (Frances A. Yates Long Term Fellow, Warburg Institute).



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