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Representing Italian Academies (1569–2006)

  • Simone Testa
Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)

Abstract

The interpretation of the Italian academic movement has witnessed enthusiastic approaches that saw in the movement the exaltation of ways of learning through participation in circles that were independent of public universities, as was the case with Bargagli, Guazzo, and Patrizi.2 Later on, the prevailing erudite approach (Alberti, Garuffi)3 was content with reporting the list of academies to explain Italy’s unique contribution to European culture, but it did not propose a sound interpretation of the whole phenomenon. This attitude was brought to high levels of detailed research by scholars such as Giovanni Fantuzzi,4 Giuseppe Gennari,5 and others who saw in these institutions a way for exalting their own city or town from a municipalistic point of view that has remained the prevailing approach in the study of Italian academies.

Keywords

Seventeenth Century Sixteenth Century Italian Peninsula Italian Language Great Mind 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 7.
    Francesco De Sanctis, Storia della letteratura italiana, 2 vols. (Naples: Morano, 1870).Google Scholar
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    Conor Fahy, “Women and Italian Cinquecento Literary Academies,” in Women in Italian Renaissance Culture and Society, ed. Letizia Panizza (Oxford: Legenda, 2000);Google Scholar
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  4. Virginia Cox, The Prodigious Muse. Women’s Writing in Counter-Reformation Italy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011); Jane Everson and Lisa Sampson, “L’Unica and the Others,” The Times Literary Supplement (2013, April): 14–15; Lisa Sampson, “Amateurs Meet Professionals: Theatrical Activities in Late Sixteenth-Century Italian Academies,” in The Reinvention of Theatre in Sixteenth-Century Europe: Traditions, Texts and Performance, ed. T. F. Earle and C. Fouto (Oxford: Legenda, forthcoming).Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    On Bargagli, see Nino Borsellino, “Bargagli, Scipione,” in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. 6 (1964), pp. 343–46; Riccò, “Introduzione”;Google Scholar
  6. Riccò, La miniera accademica: Pedagogia, editoria, palcoscenico nella Siena del Cinquecento (Rome: Bulzoni, 2002).Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    Lolita Petracchi Costantini, L’Accademia degli Intronati di Siena e una sua commedia (Siena: La Diana, 1928), p. 35.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    I have used Scipione Bargagli, “Delle lodi dell’Accademie,” in Dell’imprese di Scipion Bargagli gentil’huomo sanese (Siena: de’ Franceschi, 1594), which also contains “Orazione di Scipion Bargagli, in morte di monsignor Alessandro Piccolomini arciuescouo di Patrasso, et eletto di Siena 1579 riveduta et nuovamente ristampata.” Piccolomini (1508–78) had been an important member of the Intronati, and when he moved to Padua to study philosophy, he collaborated in the creation of the Accademia degli Infiammati in 1540, see Richard S. Samuels, “Benedetto Varchi, the Accademia degli Infiammati, and the origins of the Italian academic movement,” Renaissance Quarterly 29 (1976): pp. 601ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 17.
    Scipione Bargagli, Riverci di medaglie della Ventura befana. Con due ragionamenti: L’uno intorno alla materia delle Sorti, o Venture Befane, et l’altro intorno a riverci di medaglie, et spetialmente a’ proprii delle persone private. This book was first published by Laura Riccò, Giuoco e teatro nelle veglie di Siena (Rome: Bulzoni, 1993), pp. 168–242.Google Scholar
  10. 19.
    The Intronati are considered the first academy because they were the first to give themselves their own laws and statutes. According to Petracchi Costantini, L’Accademia degli Intronati, p. 41, the founders of the Intronati were part of the previous Sienese Accademia Grande. Leo Kosuta, “L’Académie Siennoise: Une Académie oubliée du xvie siècle,” Bullettino senese di storia patria 87 (1980): pp. 123–57, challenged this periodization and proposed that the Accademia Grande was the first formalized academy in Italy. It survived until 1530 and had apparently drafted statutes and membership rules before the Intronati.Google Scholar
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    Cicero studied under the Greek Philo of Larissa, the head of Plato’s Academy. He wrote two books titled Academica in 45 BC, which were important vehicles for the transmission of the skeptical approach to knowledge in the Renaissance, and although there are no proofs, it is possible that Bargagli had read them. For a list of sixteenth-century readers of Cicero’s Academica and the importance of this text, see Charles B. Schmitt, Cicero Scepticus. A Study of the Influence of the Academica in the Renaissance (The Hague: Nijhoff 1972);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Bargagli, Oratione, p. 515: “con un continuo loro travagliare e di continuo Fun con Faltro raffrontarsi per quello spazio vuoto, da essi posto, si congiungessero insieme ed in tal guisa il mondo nascesse e tutte le cose naturali prendessero la lor forma.” For the influence of Lucretius’s De rerum natura on Renaissance culture, see Alison Brown, The Return of Lucretius to Renaissance Florence (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010);Google Scholar
  14. and Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve. How the Renaissance Began (London: Bodley Head, 2011) for a fascinating chapter on the circulation of Epicurean ideas in Filodemo’s academy at Herculaneum, where Lucretius’s text was an important reading of the academy’s attenders.Google Scholar
  15. 28.
    Ibid., p. 522. This is a reference to the ten-year dispute, starting in 1553, between Castelvetro and Annibal Caro, when the first was asked an opinion on Caro’s encomiastic canzone “Venite all’ombra dei gran gigli d’oro,” dedicated to Alessandro Farnese. Castelvetro censored the poem, and this gave birth to a long quarrel that involved many other intellectuals of the time. For a summary of the controversy, see Valerio Marchetti and Giorgio Patrizi, “Castelvetro, Ludovico,” in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. 22 (1979), pp. 8–21.Google Scholar
  16. For a critical assessment of the dispute, see Stefano Jossa, “Exchanging Poetry with Theology: Ludovico Castelvetro between Humanism and Heresy,” in Beyond Catholicism: Heresy, Mysticism, and Apocalypse in Italian Culture, ed. Fabrizio De Donno and Simon Gilson (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 77–103.Google Scholar
  17. 30.
    Apart from Bargagli’s description of games in the academies, we can also point out Achille Bocchi, Symbolicarum Quaestionum. De universo genere quas serio ludebat libri quinque. Condictio attende lector optime si forte quid contra patrum decreta sanctorum pia factum vedictumve his libris infectum id indictumve sit (The Bolognese Achilles Bocchi’s Five Books of Inquiries about Every Kind of Symbol, Which He has Played with in a serious manner. With the warning, finest reader, that if by chance anything in these books has either been done or has been said against the pious decrees of the holy fathers, it should be considered poisonous or denounced). (Bologna: Novae Academiae Bocchi-anae, 1555). The whole emblematic tradition has a very important playful aspect, as explained by John Manning, The Emblem (London: Reaktion, 2002), pp. 143, 150–51.Google Scholar
  18. 33.
    On Bessarion’s academy, see Giovanni Mercati, Per la cronologia della vita e degli scritti di Niccolò Perotti arcivescovo di Siponto (Roma: Biblioteca apostolica Vaticana, 1925);Google Scholar
  19. John Monfasani, Bizantine Scholars in Renaissance Italy: Cardinal Bessarion and Other Émigrés (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 1995), ad indicem.Google Scholar
  20. 34.
    Tolomei would continue his enquiries later on, surrounded by likewise great scholars in Rome, first with the Accademia della Virtù and later on the Accademia dello Sdegno. On these circles and their temporal duration, see Paola Cosentino, “L’Accademia della Virtù, dicerie e cicalate di Annibal Caro e di altri virtuosi,” in Cum notibusse et commentaribusse: L’esegesi parodistica e giocosa del Cinquecento. Seminario di letteratura italiana. Viterbo, 23–24 novembre 2001, ed. Antonio Corsaro and Paolo Procaccioli (Rome: Vecchiarelli, 2001), pp. 177–92.Google Scholar
  21. On Accademia dello Sdegno in particular, see Ginette Vagenheim, “Appunti per una prosopografia dell’ Accademia dello Sdegno a Roma: Pirro, Ligorio, Latino Latini, Ottavio Pantagato e altri,” Studi Umanistici Piceni 26 (2006): pp. 211–26.Google Scholar
  22. 35.
    Michele Maylender, Storia delle Accademie d’Italia, 5 vols. (Bologna: Cappelli, 1926–30), vol. 5, mentions only the Accademia dei Velati that flourished in Bologna in 1615 and one in late seventeenth-century Ferrara, about which he only describes the emblem as a “pomegranate ripe and bursting.”Google Scholar
  23. 39.
    The reference here is to Maurice Agulhon, “Introduction. La sociabilité estelle object d’histoire?,” in Sociabilité et société bourgeoise en France, en Allemagne et en Suisse (1750–1850), ed. E. François (Paris: Editions Recherche sur les civilisations, 1986).Google Scholar
  24. 41.
    The bibliography on this subject is very rich. I relied on Frank Lestringant, “Europe et théorie des climats dans la seconde moitié du xvie siècle,” in Écrire le monde à la Renaissance: Quinze études sur Rabelais, Postel, Bodin et la littérature géographique (Caen: Paradigme, 1993), pp. 255–76.Google Scholar
  25. 48.
    Only 10 percent of the academies listed in Maylender’s repertory devised membership rules and statutes. See Quondam, “L’Accademia,” in Letteratura italiana, ed. Alberto Asor Rosa, 13 vols. (Turin: Einaudi, 1982–2000), vol. 1, Il letterato e le istituzioni (1982), p. 852, which I discuss later in this chapter.Google Scholar
  26. 50.
    Letizia Panizza, “Alessandro Piccolomini’s Mission: Philosophy for Men and Women in Their Mother Tongue,” in Vernacular Aristotle, ed. Simon Gilson (forthcoming). The program of popularization also included Benedetto Varchi: Anna Siekiera, “Aspetti linguistici e stilistici nella prosa scientifica di Benedetto Varchi,” in Benedetto Varchi (1503–1565). Atti del Convegno, Firenze 16–17 dicembre 2003, ed. Vanni Bramanti (Rome: Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 2007), pp. 319–76.Google Scholar
  27. 51.
    Rita Belladonna, “Gli Intronati, le donne, Aonio Paleario e Agostino Museo in un dialogo inedito di Marcantonio Piccolomini, il Sodo Intronato (1538),” Bullettino senese di storia patria 99 (1992): pp. 48–90;Google Scholar
  28. Valerio Marchetti, Gruppi ereticali a Siena nel Cinquecento (Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1975);Google Scholar
  29. Mario Scaduto, Review of Gruppi ereticali a Siena nel Cinquecento, by Valerio Marchetti, Archivium Historicum Societatis Jesu 46 (1977): 433–36.Google Scholar
  30. 53.
    The example concerns the affiliation with the Sienese Travagliati of Virginia Salvi, whom they salute as proof that they match the Intronati, who list Laura Battiferri among their members: Fahy, “Women and Literary Academies,” p. 444; Virginia Cox, Women Writing in Italy 1400–1650 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), p. 118; Cox, The Prodigious Muse, p. 17.Google Scholar
  31. 54.
    For the critical biography on Cornaro Piscopia, see Francesco Ludovico Maschietto, Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia: Prima donna laureata nel mondo (Padua: Antenore, 1978);Google Scholar
  32. Jane Howard Guernsey, The Lady Cornaro: Pride and Prodigy in Venice (New York: College Avenue, 2001), does not mention Piscopia’s affiliation among the Intronati;Google Scholar
  33. Paula Findlen, Review of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia (1646–1684): The First Woman in the World to Earn a University Degree by Francesco Ludovico Maschietto, Renaissance Quarterly 61, no. 3 (2008): pp. 878–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 55.
    Carolina M. Scaglioso, Un’ Accademia femminile: Le Assicurate di Siena (Città di Castello: Marcon, 1993);Google Scholar
  35. George McClure, Parlour Games and the Public Life of Women in Renaissance Italy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013), which I saw too late to be able to include in the book.Google Scholar
  36. 57.
    Antonio Gamba and Lucia Rossetti, eds., Giornale della gloriosissima Accademia ricovrata A. Verbali delle adunanze accademiche dal1599 al 1694 (Padua: Accademia galileiana di scienze lettere ed. arti, 1999), pp. 376 and 412. On the enrolment of Patin’s family members, see Leda Vigano, “Le donne,” in L’Accademia in bilioteca. Scienze lettere e arti dai Ricovrati alla Galileiana: Aspetti e vicende dell’Accademia di Padova dalle raccolte delle Biblioteche cittadine, ed. Paolo Maggiolo and Leda Vigano (Padova: Biblioteca Universitaria, 2004).Google Scholar
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    I have used Tomaso Garzoni, Della piazza universale di tutte le professioni del mondo, ed. Paolo Cherchi and Beatrice Collina (Turin: Einaudi, 1996), which is based on the 1589 edition.Google Scholar
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  43. Kristeller’s brief mention of academies is expanded by Iain Fenlon, Music and Culture in Late Renaissance Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 118–23, though he does not deal with the world outside Venice and the Venetian state.Google Scholar
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    His origins are not known, Camillo Minieri Riccio, Memorie storiche degli scrittori nati nel Regno di Napoli (Naples: Tipografia dell’Aquila, 1844), p. 261.Google Scholar
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