Category Archives: Early modern

Senses of Italy: Melbourne Masterclass

Scent, sight, sound, taste, touch: all Italian-style. They are covered in a programme of Thursday evening lectures, Melbourne Masterclass : Senses of Italy, at the University of Melbourne, 6.15 – 8.15pm, 5 October – 2 November 2017. The series starts with Catherine Kovesi on Renaissance perfumes (Venice as olfactory heaven) and Antonio Artese on scent and Aquaflor (5 Oct). Then Christopher Marshall looks at Artemisia Gentileschi’s correspondence (‘it’s all about the money’) and Mark Nicholls at Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy (12 Oct). John Weretka uses paintings and poetry to examine the instruments, repertoires and status of Renaissance musicians (upwardly mobile), followed by Malcolm Angelucci on poetics, music and madness in Italy before 1914 (19 Oct). John Hajek and Anthony White consider Futurism and food, the art and appetites of the antigrazioso (26 Oct). Finally Andrea Rizzi explores the ideas and images of Renaissance texts (‘tactile values’), and Carl Villis reveals some attributions and reattributions of Italian Renaissance art in the National Gallery of Victoria (2 Nov). Further details on the contributions, authors, venue and registration can be found here.

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The Greeks in Venice, 1498‒1600

The Hellenic Museum and Co.As.It. Museo Italiano will launch The Greeks of Venice, 1498‒1600: Immigration, Settlement, and Integration by Ersie C. Burke with a presentation by Carolyn James (Monash University) on Thursday 10 August 2017 at 6.30pm, Co.As.It. Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton (free event; RSVP here). Burke traces the history of Venice’s Greek population during the formative years between 1498 and 1600 when thousands left their homelands for Venice. She describes how Greeks established new communal and social networks, making the transition from outsiders to insiders (though not quite Venetians) in the context of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual Venice. This reconstruction of the history of the largest Christian ethnic minority in early modern Venice is interwoven with individual stories drawn from a great variety of sources – notarial documents, petitions, gov­ernment and church records, registries of marriages and deaths, and census data – held in Vene­tian church and state archives and in the Hellenic Institute of Venice.

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Award of the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2017

ACIS  is very pleased to announce that the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2017 has been awarded to Monique Webber (University of Melbourne) for her essay ‘”In Search of Universal Icons”: Interrogating the Superstar Phenomenon of Early Modern Art through the Photography of Jo-Anne Duggan’. It shows how Jo-Anne Duggan’s photographs – notably those in her exhibitions Before the Museum (2000-2002), Impossible Gaze (2002-2005), and Wondrous Possessions (2010) – explore the impact of the passage of time on the works of forgotten masters and the way we now reflect on them. The essay reveals how Jo-Anne’s approach to Renaissance artworks uncovers the complex marks of superstar culture, the dominant form of our contemporary engagement with art and often regarded as a distinctive symptom of the modern age.  We are also very pleased to give the Highly Commended award to Laelie Greenwood (Monash University) for her essay ‘Private Memory, Public Spaces: An Examination of Memory and Monument within Italian Immigrant Experience in Carlton’.  She analyses the architecture of Malbourne’s Carlton area, using Jo-Anne Duggan’s writings to explore the ways in which Italian-Australians developed a distinctive architectural style in their house facades and renovations to convey their enduring links to the country they had left.

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Language Variation in Renaissance Italy

Josh Brown   Stockholm University

Renaissance Italy saw the creation of the Italian language and of most major European standard languages. In Italy itself, no political centre dominated the entire peninsular, so no standard language was immediately obvious. The dialect chosen for the standard had the most prestigious literary tradition – Florentine. The existing literature has shown how Florentine emerged as a dominant variety in Lombardy – a wealthy region particularly interesting for its mix of political centralisation and persisting local traditions – but it has focussed on literary texts, leaving an entire period of language evolution and variation unexplored in the belief that models of language variation and changes of literary standards will suffice to explain linguistic phenomena in non-literary texts. This bias has recently been discussed by Adam Ledgeway from the University of Cambridge in a lecture at NYU Florence. In my earlier research I looked at the spread of Tuscan in a corpus of non-literary merchant texts sent from Milan in the late 14th century. I am now extending this project to the analysis of the letters of a Milanese nun, Margherita Lambertenghi (?-1454), to produce an innovative conceptualisation of processes of language change in late medieval Lombardy. Continue reading

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Dante, Petrarch, Machiavelli, Pirandello: Remo Bodei in Melbourne and Sydney

imagesThe philosopher Remo Bodei will be giving talks in Melbourne and Sydney in March. Time, eternity, history: Dante, Petrarch, Machiavelli is the title of his talk (in English) at the Italian Cultural Institute, 233 Domain Rd, South Yarra, on Thursday 9 March at 6.30pm (free, booking essential). On Friday March 10, at Co.As.It. – Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday Street, Carlton, he will be talking (in Italian) on Pirandello e la dissoluzione della personalità (free, booking essential), a lecture to mark the 150th anniversary of Pirandello’s birth. He will also be giving this talk in Sydney on 13 March, 4 – 5.30pm, in the Dept of Italian at the University of Sydney (registration here). On March 15, 6 – 7.30pm, he will talk on Memory and Forgetting: A Conflicting Complicity at the State Library of New South Wales (Metcalfe Auditorium, Macquarie Building: information for registration here) . For details of the contents of the talks Continue reading

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Risk-taking, city-living, document-losing, Baroque-deploying: Italy then and probably also now

the_cardsharps-300x213Four research projects related wholly or partly to Italy have been funded for 2017 and beyond by the Australian Research Council. In an exploration of the cultural history of capitalism Nic Baker (Macquarie) will be analysing how merchants and gamblers took financial risks, rational and irrational, in Renaissance Italy. Nick Eckstein (Sydney) will use the health records of the door-to-door ‘Visitation’ of every poor household in plague-ridden Florence in 1630 to illuminate everyday urban life as experienced by the otherwise voiceless inhabitants. John Gagné (Sydney) will be mapping the social and cultural effects of paper’s introduction to Europe from 1200-1800, focusing on both intended  (censorship, document suppression, prohibitions) and unintended (fires, rot, vermin) loss of documents and its consequences for repression and reinvention. Jaynie Anderson, Shane Carmody and Max Vodola (Melbourne) will track the unstinting efforts of the first Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, James Goold (1812-1886), an Irishman educated in Italy, to use his collection of books and Italian Baroque paintings to convey the intensity of European religious experience to congregations at risk of distraction by the gold discovered in Victoria in 1851.

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A tale of two journeys: the composition and publication of the Codice Rustici

codice-rustici-facsimile-olschki-itinerario-di-fede-firenze-gerusalemmeIn 1450 or thereabouts a Florentine goldsmith, Matteo di Bartolomeo Rustici, began to write down the story of a perhaps imaginary journey to the Holy Land a decade earlier. He relied heavily on his favourite readings, copying and abridging them, illustrating his accounts of places and events with detailed watercolours, frequently digressing from his main storyline to include instructions on Christian doctrine for pilgrims, potted biographies of saints, tales associated with the places visited, recommendations of cures for tarantula bites …. the result, in the words of Kathleen Olive and Nerida Newbigin, editors of the critical edition of the Codice Rustici, recently published (Olschki 2016) with a facsimile of the original and collection of essays, ‘resembling the worst kind of research uncritically cobbled together from internet sources’. The beautifully illustrated story of the text’s survival and its own journey towards publication is told by the editors here.

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Machiavelli in the British Isles

PETRINA JKT(240x159)PATHIn the century before the first printed English translation of Machiavelli’s The Prince appeared in 1640, at least four translations in English had circulated in manuscript form. The only one which was not anonymous was produced in Scotland ‘virtuously and valiantlye  and with great and magnanime courage’ by William Fowler, poet, courtier and former spy who enjoyed the company of heretics and was therefore attracted to the task of diffusing a text under Papal ban. Alessandra Petrina (University of Padova), author of Machiavelli in the British Isles (Ashgate, 2009) will give a talk under that title, co-sponsored by the Museo Italiano and the Faculty of Arts of the University of Melbourne, at the Museo Italiano, 189 Faraday Street, Carlton, on Thursday, 22 September 2016 from 10:00 – 11.3oam. The talk will focus on Anglo-Italian relations in early modern Europe and the reception of a book that was often used as a tool to learn the Italian language. Professor Petrina will complement it with a session from 12:00 – 1:30pm providing a contemporary view on the teaching of English in primary and secondary schools in Italy.

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Translators and Printers in Renaissance Europe

logoRegistration is now open for the international conference Translators and Printers in Renaissance Europe: Framing Identity and Agency, to be held at the Institute for Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, on 29-30 September 2016 (registration here).  The European Renaissance witnessed a new significance accorded to the tasks of textual translation and the printing and dissemination of the resultant works—whether religious tracts, literary or historical works, or popular manuals of instruction. As a consequence, the same period saw a dramatic increase in the importance, even prestige, claimed by translators, both women and men, for their skills. Translators and printers made these claims in frontispieces, prefaces, letters of dedication, and the like. In their direct appeal to the reader, such framing devices yield rich information about the material culture of sixteenth-century books, and the scope of translators’ endeavours. The conference explores the self-presentational strategies of sixteenth-century European translators and printers, and the tensions and ambiguities therein. Through analysis of paratextual material, it aims to illuminate the self-views of sixteenth-century translators, and their own accounts of their role as authoritative agents of cultural exchange, national and transnational acculturation (paper abstracts here).

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