“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

Michelangelo Buonarrati

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Created by: the (re) institute llc                All Rights Reserved 2011-2015

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story: Q: what’s for dinner?

A: human progress

- the dining room table of Lorenzo d’Medici -


Lorenzo de’ Medici was pretty magnificent - literally, he was called Il Magnifico - but not for the reasons you might immediately call to mind. true, he was a statesman, diplomat, patron of the arts and all that. but not noted quite as often, Lorenzo was a humanist.


renaissance humanism developed right at Lorenzo’s own dining room table. it was a unique table, capable of seating up to 60 people – as it turned out most evenings, 60 incredibly diverse people: artists, western scholars, middle eastern scholars, scientists, statesman and royalty, businessmen, theologians, and more. humanism was an intellectual 180 from the thinking of the time and the thinking of hundreds of years preceding. in those years before, if there was a dominant thought it was scholasticism – basically educating the few lucky enough to receive

DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man

training to do a specific job – lawyer, doctor, clergyman, or tradesman. humanists sought to give all peoples the chance to speak and write and engage in broad thinking. and at Lorenzo’s table, theory was brought to life. letters, journals, and other documents from the time make clear that no one, including Lorenzo, every knew for sure who would be seated around the table on any given night and more, what they might end up talking about.


just by bringing people over the dinner table who would not otherwise have ever interacted or in many cases even known of each other, creative thinking spread, first with the thoughts of one dinner guests finding their way into the work of another, then into movements in the arts, sciences, and politics of the cities these guests dwelt in, and eventually like a virus across Italy, europe, the middle east, and beyond. such intersections, such conversations, such openness, contributed to what became the renaissance, a movement of exploration and experimentation that changed man’s thinking and the course of human progress forever.

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