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Cristoforo Landino and Coluccio Salutati on the Best Life

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Bruce G. McNair*
Campbell University


An Important Issue in the study of fifteenth-century Florentine humanism is whether or not later Quattrocento humanists advocate a withdrawal from public life and abandon the “civic” humanism of Salutati, Bruni, and the early Quattrocento humanists. There is no lack of studies on this question using the categories of vita activa and vita contemplativa. In broad terms, the early fifteenthcentury Florentine humanists, reacting against the medieval scholastic world view, are seen as advocating the supremacy of the vita activa though still valuing the vita contemplativa, while the midfifteenth- century humanists, under the influence of the Medici and Marsilio Ficino's Platonic studies, are considered to have reversed the earlier emphasis on the “civic” outlook for the supremacy of the contemplative life and a withdrawal from public affairs.

Copyright © Renaissance Society of America 1994

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