The Patronage of Clement VI

Philip E. Burnham Jr. describes how the court of Clement VI at Avignon became a model of humanism and scholarship for princely courts elsewhere in Europe.

At the Italian court of Urbino in the year 1506, a group of men and women spent several days discussing the attributes of the perfect courtier. In the course of their discussion, recorded in Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier, one of the participants proposed a portrait of the prince himself and of the courtier’s advice to him:

... I should seek to implant a certain greatness in his mind, along with a regal splendour, ... that would make him loved and revered by everyone,

so that chiefly for this would he be famous and illustrious in the world. I should say too that he ought to join to his greatness a certain familiar gentleness, a sweet and amiable humanity, and a fine manner of showing his favour; ... that he ought to be very generous and give to everyone unstintingly... .'

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