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.