Bostius and the Northern Renaissance
The Order in the North produced no artists or scholars of the stature of the best of those found in Italy. Nevertheless, there were not lacking in the North diligent practitioners of humanistic letters.
The Belgian Carmelite, Arnold Bostius, himself wrote little, but through his voluminous correspondence, phrased in elegant Latin, kept in touch with the humanist circle in the Order and placed it in contact with the larger movement outside. His correspondents included the Mantuan and Hermolaus Barbarus in Italy; Erasmus, the Fernand brothers, Gaguin, and Badius in France; Beyssel and Trithemius in Germany, as well as members of the Order, whom he encouraged in the pursuit of the new learning. In polished Latin, he traded views concerning writers, criticized the work of friends, exchanged poems, encouraged new talent. The Carmelite historian, Benedict Zimmermann, O.C.D., calls him the pivot of the humanist movement in the Order and designates the half century, 1475-1525, the “Age of Bostius.”