THE REASSERTION OF FUNDAMENTALISM
: A CASE STUDY OF SAVONAROLA
The history of the Renaissance in Europe is on the one hand, one of the great periods of human civilization in which art and architecture reached an apogee. On the other hand, the grandeur of this art brought about a reaction because material culture was being patronized by the guardians of the soul. The Pope and the higher clergy were patronizing art when they should have been addressing the religious and spiritual needs of their flock. The art was highly impressive and the artists of the Renaissance are counted among the greatest artist of the world: Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci, but they could have been patronized by kings and emperors instead. Religion meant spirituality, and spirituality meant austerity and simplicity. When the Roman Catholic Church deviated from that purpose, Savonarola came out in protest gathering followers to his cause. He came to rule Florence as a republic and all the impulses he gave expression to were fundamentalist in nature. Thus it is evident that the coming and the going of Savonarola has cast its shadow over later manifestations of Fundamentalism, most notably the current times, yet his contribution has not been adequately acknowledged.