Past Event

Nicholas Baker on Renaissance Conceptualization of Time

April 12, 2018
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Columbia University Faculty House

The Columbia University Seminar on Medieval Studies will take place on Wednesday, April 10 at 5:30pm in the Faculty House. Nicholas Baker (Macquarie) will discuss "Separating Time from Eternity in the Early Renaissance."


Nicholas Scott Baker is a Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the Macquarie University, Australia, specializing in the late medieval and Renaissance history of Italy and currently a fellow at the IAS, Princeton. His first book is entitled The Fruit of Liberty: Political Culture in the Florentine Renaissance, 1480-1550 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013). He is now writing a book provisionally entitled In Fortune’s Theater: Thinking About the Future in Renaissance Italy.

The talk will be followed by dinner at Faculty House at 7:00pm. All those who wish to dine with Nicholas Scott Baker should contact Carly Quijano at by MondayApril 9. Dinner is a fixed buffet menu, which costs $30 per person. Payment is only by check made out to “Columbia University.”

During the Renaissance, Italians principally articulated the experience of time’s passing and concepts of the future in terms of Providence and fortuna (Fortune).  These constituted the principal lexicon by which authors made sense of and gave meaning to the unknowability of time-yet-to-come. In the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, the allegorical force of these ideas conceived of Fortuna as subordinate to, and an agent of, Providence. Over the course of the fifteenth century, I argue a process of gradual, never complete, disentanglement between these two allegorical concepts occurred, as part of a larger process that separated time from eternity, and witness the development of new temporalities by the last quarter of the fifteenth century.