23 February 2019

23 February

John Keats – poet

Writer spent his final days in the Eternal City

English Romantic poet John Keats died on this day in Rome in 1821. He had been a published writer for five years and had written some of his greatest work before leaving England. He was just starting to be appreciated by the literary critics when tuberculosis took hold of him and he was advised by doctors to move to a warmer climate.  He arrived in Rome with his friend, Joseph Severn, in November 1820 to live in a house next to the Spanish Steps but sadly his health problems overtook him. Read more…


Gentile Bellini - Renaissance painter

Bellini family were Venice's leading 15th century artists

Gentile Bellini, a member of Venice's leading family of painters in the 15th century, died in Venice on this day in 1507.  He was believed to be in his late 70s, although the exact date of his birth was not recorded. The son of Jacopo Bellini, who had been a pioneer in the use of oil paint in art, he was the brother of Giovanni Bellini and the brother-in-law of Andrea Mantegna.  Together, they were the founding family of the Venetian school of Renaissance art. Read more…


Giovanni Battista de Rossi - Archaeologist

Excavations unearthed massive Catacomb of St Callixtus

Giovanni Battista de Rossi, the archaeologist who revealed the whereabouts of lost Christian catacombs beneath Rome, was born on this day in 1822 in the Italian capital. De Rossi’s most famous discovery – or rediscovery, to be accurate – of the Catacomb of St Callixtus, established him as the greatest archaeologist of the 19th century.  The vast underground cemetery, located beneath the Appian Way about 7km (4.3 miles) south of the centre of Rome, may have contained up to half a million corpses, including those of 16 popes. Read more…


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