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MORETTO da Brescia (b. ca. 1498, Brescia, d. 1554, Brescia) Portrait of a Dominican, Presumed to be Girolamo Savonarola 1524 Oil on canvas, 74 x 66 cm Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona Although this picture was painted well after the execution of the charismatic theologian Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498), comparison with documented portraits gives credence to this traditional identification. Savonarola was revered throughout northern Italy at this period, and especially in Milan and Brescia…


Part I. Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498), portrait painted by Fra Bartolommeo, 1472-1517. Savonarola was a reformer, who came to Florence at the invitation of Lorenzo de' Medici. Savonarola turned on his patron, and called upon the Florentines to give up the opulence and the vanitiies that consumed their lives. He preached against Florentine immorality, and predicted the heavenly scourging of the city by God. He encouraged the "bonfires of the vanities."

Girolamo Savonarola This Italian Dominican friar was determined to rid Florence of its corruption. He was so successful that he brought down the powerful Medici family’s reign. The Florentines finally tired of Savonarola’s government of “purity” and turned against him. He was tried for heresy and burned at the stake.


1493- Florence's most charismatic preacher, Girolamo Savonarola, begins to prophesy a northern invader that will sweep Italy's corrupt aristocrats from their thrones & allow a rebirth of a purified Church. When the king of France invades Italy the next year (to aid the Pope against the king of Naples) Savonarola claims his prophecy is come true & incites the Florentines to rise up & throw off the wealthy Medici dynasty. Piero de' Medici flees, as does his court painter Michelangelo…