Hey folks! I hope you might be able to help me out. I'm looking for books that discuss the relationship between the Church and Roman/Greek mythology during the renaissance. Specifically, what did renaissance Europeans have to say about all the (at the time) new statues and frescoes depicting pagan gods? It's curious to me that a lot of this art was commissioned by the Church and by prominent figures in the church's hierarchy, when a few centuries earlier they were erecting crucifixes to keep vigil over the sites of former Greek and Roman temples.
I'm familiar with the narrative that classical writing returned to circulation at this time, captured the minds of wealthy patrons like the Medici's, and sparked the humanist movement. But it seems like a big to jump to me from simply reading and appreciating Plato and Virgil to cardinals themselves commissioning scenes from Roman religion for their personal villas.
I guess related to this topic are questions like: were educated people of the time aware that there had been mass desecration of Roman statues during late antiquity and the early middle ages? Was there some kind of deliberate and express intent to replace art that the public space had lost?
At the root of this question is how the (educated) renaissance mind perceived something like seeing a statue of Neptune going up in the middle of the town square, so something based on primary sources (letters, quotes and books written at the time) would be preferred.
Ad hoc answers and anecdotes would of course also be very welcomed!
Source: reddit post