Eyes and Heart, Eros and Agape

Forms of Love in the Renaissance

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Gabriella Zarri gabzarri@tin.it

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This article reflects on the centrality of the senses of sight and hearing in the birth of romantic love. It explores the treatment of two forms of love, natural and divine, in fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Italy, tracing the initial movements of the former and shifts in the latter. Making use of two literary works, by Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Pope Pius II) and Pietro Bembo, two paintings, by Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, and several treatises on marital obligation and the “marital debt”, it charts the emergence of the idea that sensual love was legitimate in marriage and the impact of affective mysticism on the concept of divine love.

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