The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici by Elizabeth Lev

1499.  Clad in battle armor over her noble finery, a woman looks down from the ramparts of the fortress at Forli.  Her surrender is demanded in exchange for the life of her son, a prisoner of the enemy army.  In an act of legendary defiance, she hikes up her skirts, grabs herself, and announces that … Continue reading The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici by Elizabeth Lev

Henry V

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility; But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger: Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood. … Continue reading Henry V

The Book of the Courtier: Il Cortegiano by Baldassare Castiglione

The Italian Renaissance.  We all know it.  It's that brief time in history where powerful families and political factions were dealing death on the streets while artistic geniuses put their indelible stamp on the world.  The upheaval of that time forged the modern world.  To survive in that world, one had to have sprezzatura, that easy-going, effortless … Continue reading The Book of the Courtier: Il Cortegiano by Baldassare Castiglione

Leonardo’s Brain: Understanding da Vinci’s Creative Genius by Leonard Shlain

There are a great many books out there on the genius of Leonardo da Vinci.  What makes this one different?  It was written by a brain surgeon at the end of his life while he was combatting a brain tumor.  As Leonardo himself could tell you, perspective and experience make a world of difference. I'm … Continue reading Leonardo’s Brain: Understanding da Vinci’s Creative Genius by Leonard Shlain