Sexual Fables

This article accompanies the fable
Angel Incarnate

The Bonfire of the Vanities

The most famous Bonfire of the Vanities (Falò delle vanità) occurred in Florence in 1497 under the auspices of the controversial reformer Girolamo Savonarola. Books, paintings, mirrors, playing cards, dolls and other vanities perished in the flames. The irony, of course, is that he was burnt at the stake the following year.


The above painting of Savonarola's burning is from 1498, with no known painter. It shows the Piazza della Signoria in Florence oddly empty of people - there was a huge crowd for the event. At the rear is the Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace), with the Loggia dei Lanzi on the far right. This painting now hangs in the city's Museo di San Marco. Below is a modern photo of the Piazza.

It has been said that Sandro Botticelli indulged in the "Florentine way" (sodomy) and that he agreed to have his paintings burnt in the Bonfire of the Vanities although there is no evidence for either claim.


Below is an undated painting of the Piazza from the early 18th century, by Giuseppe Zocchi. The Uffizi can be seen between the Palazzo and the Loggia.


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