ANDRÉ DURAND Twenty-First Century Paintings
GIORDANO BRUNO BURNING
Dimensions: 203.2 x167.6
Oil on linen
At the invitation of a Venetian nobleman, Giovanni Moncenigo, Bruno returned to Italy as his private tutor. In 1592 Moncenigo denounced Bruno to the Inquisition, which tried him for heresy. Turned over to the Roman authorities, he was imprisoned for some eight years while questioning proceeded on charges of blasphemy, immoral conduct, and heresy. Refusing to recant, Bruno was burned at the stake in Campo dei Fiori on February 17, 1600. Late in the 19th century, a statue was erected on the site of his martyrdom to the cause of free thought.
Bruno advocated philosophical theories that blended mystical Neoplatonism and pantheism. He believed that the universe is infinite, that God is the universal world-soul, and that all particular material things are manifestations of the one infinite principle. Bruno is considered a forerunner of modern philosophy because of his influence on the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza and his anticipation of the theories of monism, later advocated by the German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
“Innumerable suns exist; innumerable earths revolve around these suns in a manner similar to the way the seven planets revolve around our sun.
Living beings inhabit these worlds.”
Giordano Bruno, Italian monk of the sixteenth century.
Contributed by: Desmond J. Fitzgerald
The following report from the Fraternity of St. John the Beheaded is the only documentary account of Bruno’s martyrdom on 17 February 1600 to be considered authentic by the Catholic church. It was published in 1889:
. . . But he insisted till the end always in his damned refractoriness and twisted brain and his mind with a thousand errors; yes, he didn’t give up his stubborness, not even when the court ushers took him away to the Campo de’ Fiori. There his clothes were taken off, he was bound to a stake and burned alive [e quivi spogliato nudo e legato a un palo fu brusciato vivo]. In all this time he was accompanied by our fraternity, who sang constant litanies, while the comforters tried till the last moment to break his stubborn resistance, till he gave up a miserable and pitiable life.
This is Durand’s only picture of an historical event. Giordano Bruno’s martyrdom in all its harrowing detail is depicted in the Campo de’ Fiori, Rome of today. GIORDANO BRUNO BURNING demonstrates a criterion of Neomodernism:
A Neomodernist treatment of political or historical subject matter is detached and philosophical, never propaganda.
The picture is on temporary loan to New Acropolis, London. www.newacropolisuk.org