I grew up with a seven-foot print of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, from the Sistine Chapel, on the wall above my bed.  I read Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy, a novelized version of Michelangelo’s life, twice in high school and once again in college.  I read deeply on Leonardo Da Vinci, both for his scientific and his artistic genius.  I knew it wasn’t the hippest era amongst the highbrow set, but I always loved the art of the renaissance period.  I’ve grown to love other kinds and periods of art, but the painting and the sculpture of the great renaissance masters has always remained my favorite.

The greater portion of that art was produced under the patronage of the church.  There were controversies, to be sure, and artists then as now liked to push the boundaries.  But the church was much more supportive of artistic and scientific innovation than is commonly portrayed.

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