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The Borgias: A Scandalous Family Portrait

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The Borgias: A Scandalous Family Portrait

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, August 7, 2024 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0824
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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A Glass of Wine with Caesar Borgia by John Collier, 1893

The Borgias—a family synonymous with murder, rape, incest, and torture—have been immortalized in the diaries of historian Jacob Burckhardt, the prose of Apollinaire, and a pair of dueling series on Showtime and Sky. But was it all sex, simony, and scandal?

Art historian Elizabeth Lev frames their story in the context of a society rife with artistic highs and the lows of such notable figures as Savonarola and Machiavelli; two Borgia popes; and ongoing clashes with neighboring city-states. It was not a time for weak men or women, as the Borgias understood.

Lev highlights their political aspirations, religious conflicts, and particularly the fascinating artistic commissions, which, despite their extraordinary beauty, could not redeem the family's reputation. Discover what happened when Church and State intertwined for the gain of a single dynasty, as well as the surprising epilogue to the Borgias’ inevitable downfall.

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