I thought this would be a neat intro into Chapter 12: Renaissance and Exploration.
Looking around today in our culture, it is very easy to see Renaissance references.
The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri is alluded to in movies, literature, and, surprisingly enough, in many popular video games.
You may have heard of the movie What Dreams May Come, starring Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr. If you have seen the movie or have read the novel it is based on (Author Richard Matheson), you would have seen the representation of Hell to be very similar to Dante’s depiction in his poem.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/aBAmBPosSy4" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
You will also see clear references to The Divine Comedy in the movie Hannibal, the video game series Devil May Cry, and even in Jarhead, a movie about several Marines during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
I would definitely advise anyone who has not read Dante’s The Divine Comedy to pick up a copy. The amount of references in everyday culture to this poem will astound you!
Assassin’s Creed II
Another interesting popular culture reference to the Renaissance and the political, artistic, and religious aspects of Italy in the mid 1400s is the recently released Assassin’s Creed II video game. If you are unfamiliar with the series, let me introduce you! Though based in fact, the stories of the games are obviously fictional. What interests me, however, is the unbelievable reality in the game. The artists developing the game looked into 15th Century Italy and borrowed important building and area information to make the game more realistic. The developers also used key figures in history, such as Leonard da Vinci, Rodrigo Borgia (Aka Pope Alexander VI), Lorenzo de’Medici, and more. The art used in the game is also real, though modified to fit the storyline.
In the video below, you can catch a quick glimpse of Florence in the game, which is remarkably similar to the Florence of 15th Century. You will also be introduced to Leonardo da Vinci, a key character in the game, long before he becomes famous.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/W8Qz9ah8cKQ" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Here is a nice article, as well, on the realistic approach taken to recreate Renaissance Italy.
Assassin’s Creed II Brings Time Travel Closer to Reality