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Bernardino of Siena organising the vanities bonfire, Perugia, from the Oratorio di San Bernardino, by Agostino di Duccio, built between 1457 and 1461.

Bonfire of the Vanities (Italian: Falò delle vanità) refers to the burning of objects that are deemed to be occasions of sin. The most famous one took place on 7 February 1497, when supporters of the Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola collected and publicly burned thousands of objects like cosmetics, art, and books in Florence, Italy, on the Shrove Tuesday festival.[1]

The focus of this destruction was nominally on objects that might tempt one to sin, including vanity items such as mirrors, cosmetics, fine dresses, paintings, playing cards, and even musical instruments. Other targets included books that were deemed to be "immoral," such as works by Boccaccio and manuscripts of secular songs, as well as artworks, including paintings and sculpture.

Although it is widely reported that the Florentine artist Sandro Botticelli burned several of his paintings based on classical mythology in the bonfire, the historical record on this is not clear. Giorgio Vasari only reports that Botticelli was a partisan of Savonarola: "he was so ardent a partisan that he was thereby induced to desert his painting, and, having no income to live on, fell into very great distress." Orestes Brownson, an apologist for Savonarola, only mentions artwork by Fra Bartolomeo, Lorenzo di Credi, and "many other painters," along with "several antique statues."[2] Such bonfires were not invented by Savonarola, however; they were a common accompaniment to the outdoor sermons of San Bernardino da Siena in the first half of the century.

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Bonfire of the Vanities in fiction

The event has been represented or mentioned in varying degrees of detail in a number of works of historical fiction, including George Eliot's Romola (1863), E.R. Eddison's A Fish Dinner in Memison (1941), Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy (1961), Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's The Palace (1978), Timothy Findley's Pilgrim (1999), Sarah Dunant's The Birth of Venus (2003) and Ian Caldwell's and Dustin Thomason's Rule of Four (2004). It is also depicted starkly in the PBS series, Empires: The Medici, Godfathers of the Renaissance (2003) at the end of the second episode. The event is also mentioned in the video game Assassin's Creed 2 and will be featured in upcoming downloadable content for the game.

As a metaphor, the ritual provided the title of Tom Wolfe's 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities and its film adaptation. Events in Margaret Atwood's works frequently allude to the bonfire, as in her dystopian novels The Handmaid's Tale (1985) and Oryx and Crake (2003).

Bonfire of the Vanities in non-fiction

Classist historians John Heath, Bruce Snail Thornton, and Victor Davis Hanson wrote Bonfire of the Humanities. Rescuing the Classics in an Impoverished Age, using on the name of the bonfire as a metaphor for declining interest in historical works, in 2001.

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.covenantseminary.edu/worldwide/en/CH310/CH310_T_33.html
  2. ^ Orestes Brownson, "Savonarola: his Contest with Paganism," Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1851; available at Orestes Brownson society
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, from the Oratorio di San Bernardino, by Agostino di Duccio, built between 1457 and 1461.]]

Bonfire of the Vanities (Italian: Falò delle vanità) refers to the burning of objects that are deemed to be occasions of sin. The most infamous one took place on 7 February 1497, when supporters of the Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola collected and publicly burned thousands of objects like cosmetics, art, and books in Florence, Italy, on the Mardi Gras festival.[1] Such bonfires were not invented by Savonarola, however. They were a common accompaniment to the outdoor sermons of San Bernardino da Siena in the first half of the century.

The focus of this destruction was nominally on objects that might tempt one to sin, including vanity items such as mirrors, cosmetics, fine dresses, paintings, playing cards, and even musical instruments. Other targets included books that were deemed to be "immoral," such as works by Boccaccio, and manuscripts of secular songs, as well as artworks, including paintings and sculpture.

Although it is widely reported that the Florentine artist Sandro Botticelli burned several of his paintings based on classical mythology in the great Florentine bonfire of 1497, the historical record on this is not clear. The art historian Giorgio Vasari said that Botticelli was a partisan of Savonarola: "he was so ardent a partisan that he was thereby induced to desert his painting, and, having no income to live on, fell into very great distress." Writing several centuries later, Orestes Brownson, an apologist for Savonarola, mentions artwork only by Fra Bartolomeo, Lorenzo di Credi, and "many other painters," along with "several antique statues."[2]

Contents

The Bonfire Of The Vanities in fiction

The event has been represented or mentioned in varying degrees of detail in a number of works of historical fiction, including George Eliot's Romola (1863), E.R. Eddison's A Fish Dinner in Memison (1941), Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy (1961), Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's The Palace (1978), Timothy Findley's Pilgrim (1999), Sarah Dunant's The Birth of Venus (2003) and Ian Caldwell's and Dustin Thomason's Rule of Four (2004).

It is also depicted in the PBS series, Empires: The Medici, Godfathers of the Renaissance (2003) at the end of the second episode.

Mentioned in the video game Assassin's Creed II, the 1497 event is a downloadable content portion of the game. In the Assassin's Creed II version, Savonarola had stolen an "Apple of Eden" from Ezio Auditore da Firenze at the end of the Battle of Forli DLC, and used it to stir people into a frenzy of support for him.

As a metaphor, Tom Wolfe used the 15th century event and ritual as the title for his 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities and its film adaptation.

Margaret Atwood's works allude to the bonfire, as in her dystopian novels The Handmaid's Tale (1985) and Oryx and Crake (2003).

The tenth episode of Season 2 of the CW's Gossip Girl is called "Bonfire of the Vanity".

"Bonfire of the Vanities" in non-fiction

Classicist historians John Heath, Bruce Snail Thornton, and Victor Davis Hanson wrote Bonfire of the Humanities: Rescuing the Classics in an Impoverished Age (2001), using the name of the bonfire as a metaphor for declining interest in classic works.

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.covenantseminary.edu/worldwide/en/CH310/CH310_T_33.html
  2. ^ Orestes Brownson, "Savonarola: his Contest with Paganism," Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1851; available at Orestes Brownson society


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to The Bonfire of the Vanities article)

From Wikiquote

The Bonfire of the Vanities is a 1990 film adaption of the novel by Tom Wolfe. Starring Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Melanie Griffith.

Directed by Brian De Palma. Screenplay written by Michael Cristofer.
An outrageous story about greed, lust and vanity in America. Taglines

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Quotes

Sir Gerald Moore: I was at dinner last evening, and halfway through the pudding, this four-year-old child came alone, dragging a little toy cart. And on the cart was a fresh turd. Her own, I suppose. The parents just shook their heads and smiled. I've made a big investment in you, Peter. Time and money, and it's not working. Now, I could just shake my head and smile. But in my house, when a turd appears, we throw it out. We dispose of it. We flush it away. We don't put it on the table and call it caviar.

Peter Fallow: If you're going to live in a whorehouse, there's only one thing you can do: be the best damn whore around.

Peter Fallow: Caroline, you devil.
Caroline Heftshank: Peter, you pig!

Judge Leonard White: Let me tell you what justice is. Justice is the law. And the law is man's feeble attempt to lay down the principles of decency. Decency! And decency isn't a deal, it's not a contract or a hustle or an angle! Decency... decency is what your grandmother taught you. It's in your bones!

Taglines

  • Take one Wall Street tycoon, his Fifth Avenue mistress, a reporter hungry for fame, and make the wrong turn in the Bronx... then sit back and watch the sparks fly.
  • An outrageous story about greed, lust vanity in America.

Main cast

Actor Role
Tom Hanks Sherman McCoy
Bruce Willis Peter Fallow
Melanie Griffith Maria Ruskin
Kim Cattrall Judy McCoy
Saul Rubinek Jed Kramer
Morgan Freeman Judge Leonard White
Kevin Dunn Tom Killian
Clifton James Albert Fox
Louis Giambalvo Ray Andruitti
Donald Moffat Mr. McCoy
Alan King Arthur Ruskin

External links


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