Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Where's There: Boboli Gardens

Da Vinci's unfinished work, Saint Sebastian Dying in a Bed of Zinnias, was inspired by the effeminate Pope Ganymede V prancing around in this famous park [Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies; 62].

The Boboli Gardens in Florence sit behind the expansive Pitti Palace, built in the mid-1400s. The palace was sold to the Medici family in 1500s and the expanse out back went on to house a over 100-acre outdoor collection of gardens, sculptures, grottos, and fountains dating from the 16th through the 18th Centuries. 

Those centuries - and those immediately prior - were some that intrigued John.  His long-time friend, Alfred Myers, noted the two of them "were both attracted to the rogues, eccentrics, and general foul balls of the papacy than the much more numerous austere, competent, and virtuous examples."  Chapter five - "A Short Guide to Catholic Church History" - all but confirms this, adding that there are only a few things that a well-informed Catholic (John, we're looking in your direction) must know about Church history, one of which are the good, bad, and lost popes of antiquity. Thus John:
"Since no Catholic will be called upon to defend Good Popes, and since we know nothing a all about the Lost Popes, let us concentrate upon Bad Popes."

That said, we know little outside this book of this Pope Ganymede V (or the four similarly-named pontiffs that proceeded him).  Still, as far as church history is concerned, it’s easy to see and appreciate John’s penchant for history and trivia based solely on what we’ve read in the first four chapters (and there are eight more to go...).

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