Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Giovanni Francesco Pico della Mirandola

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 10
Giovanni Francesco Pico della Mirandola

by Paul Lejay


Italian philosopher, nephew of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, b. about 1469; d. 1533. Though very gentle and pious he was drawn into the bitter feuds of his family and fell at the foot of the crucifix with his son Albert, killed by his nephew Galeotto II, who had just seized the Castle of Mirandola. His wife and the children of his other son were shut up in dreadful dungeons. At Rome he defended the eclectic Latin style against the Ciceronian Bembo. Like his uncle he devoted himself chiefly to philosophy, but made it subject to the Bible, though in his treatises, "De studio divinæ et humanæ sapientiæ" and particularly in the six books entitled "Examen doctrinæ unitatis gentium", he depreciates the authority of the philosophers, above all of Aristotle. He wrote a detailed biography of his uncle and another of Savonarola. Having observed the dangers to which Italian society was exposed at the time, he sounded a warning on the occasion of the Lateran Council: "Joannis Francisci Pici oratio ad Leonem X et concilium Lateranense de reformandis Ecclesiæ Moribus" (Hagenau, 1512, dedicated to Pirckheimer). He was discussing funerals and tombs with Lillio Giraldi when the catastrophe occurred which carried him off. Giraldi commemorated the tragic event in a touching postscript to the "De Sepulcris" (in his works, Basle, 1580, I, 640).

NIC=C9RON, Mémoires, XXXIV; TIRABOSCHI, Biblioteca Modenese, IV, 95; biography by his nephew, in complete works; Storia della letteratura italiana, VI, part I, 323; SANDYS, A History of Classical Scholarship, II (Cambridge, 1908), 82.

PAUL LEJAY