Jacob Burckhardt: The Renaissance revisited

by Jonathan Jones, no Guardian.

“Don’t be so gloomy. After all, it’s not that awful,” says Orson Welles as the black marketeer Harry Lime among the bombed wastes of Vienna in The Third Man. “Remember what the fellow said – in Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love. They had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

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