More on the The Forest Fire, my Painting of the Month, by Piero di Cosimo in The Ashmolean, Oxford
Much has been written of this Renaissance masterpiece. The gallery notes attributes the theme to a reading of De Rerum Natura (on Nature), an epic first century poem by the Roman, Lucretius. The theme of the six volumes was based on the ideas proposed by the Greek philosopher, Epicurus, that all nature stemmed from particles and the natural differences being due to the arrangements of the individual ‘atoms’
While this advanced thinking would not be supported scientifically for nearly twenty centuries, the classical poets still accepted the roles of the Gods behind these configurations.
So The Forest Fire recognises an ancient debate that still continues in the present century. Was the gift of fire a particular accident or a divine intervention?
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