Category Archives: Early modern

Site of Resistance: The Popular Piety of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato

 Shannon Gilmore   University of California, Santa Barbara

260px-Prato,_Santa_Maria_delle_CarceriThis summer I enjoyed a month-long sojourn in Florence to expand my dissertation project on Central Italian miraculous image cults established in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, specifically the cult of Santa Maria delle Carceri in Prato. My trip got off to a promising start: I had the good fortune to attend the special mass marking the anniversary of Santa Maria delle Carceri’s first miracle. I was immediately grateful that I had arrived early to snag a seat, as the interior of Giuliano da Sangallo’s church was bursting at the seams with the faithful whose eyes were fixed on the miraculous image of the Virgin and Child with Saints Leonard and Stephen (c. 1350) above the high altar. The cult’s continuing significance to the diocese of Prato was immediately evident as a television cameraman ducked in and out of the tightly packed crowd to capture a perfect shot of the bishop who proudly wore a vestment bearing a screen-printed copy of the Marian image.

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‘Tied with indissoluble chains’: Languages of Exile and Imprisonment

Lisa Di Crescenzo/Sally Fisher   Monash University

CMRS The inaugural Annual Symposium of Monash University’s Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS),'”Tied with indissoluble chains”: Languages of Exile and Imprisonment in Medieval and Renaissance England and Italy’, was held at Monash University on 24 April 2015. The theme was born out of shared research interests, and the enthusiastic response from speakers and participants confirmed both scholarly and general interest in a sustained enquiry into languages of exile and imprisonment in Medieval and Renaissance England and Italy. Susan Broomhall (UWA) gave the plenary address, followed by Stephanie Downes (Melbourne), Helen Hickey (Melbourne), Amanda McVitty (Massey University, NZ) and Natalie Tomas (Monash). Papers by Lisa Di Crescenzo and Sally Fisher completed the programme. Analysing sources such as letters, legal documents, chronicles and poems, the speakers interrogated the writing of the experiences of exile and imprisonment in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century England and Italy, exploring how the physical and interior experiences of these states were negotiated, reshaped and performed, and the intersections and oppositions between them.

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Bartolomeo Cristofori, pianoforte man

Sally Grant   New York

Image: Google

Image: Google

For those who may have missed it, on Monday Google celebrated the 360th birthday of Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731) of Padua, with a doodle dedicated to the relatively unknown, at least outside of musical circles, inventor of the pianoforte. By including a scale that changes the volume from piano to forte, the doodler, Leon Hong, has playfully captured the innovative nature of Cristofori’s invention. Watching the instrument maker become more animated as the volume rises is a particularly delightful touch. Perhaps it also signifies the glee that Cristofori feels for at last being celebrated in such a global and prominent way for his creation of a musical instrument that has impacted human culture so profoundly. The Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York owns one of only three surviving pianos by Cristofori. The other two are at the Museo Strumenti Musicali in Rome and at Leipzig University’s Musikinstrumenten-Museum.

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Learning from letters: the Strozzi in exile and the implications of expatriation

Lisa Di Crescenzo   Monash University

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In the aftermath of Cosimo de’ Medici’s banishment of the deposed patrician power group from Florence in 1434, Palla di Nofri Strozzi and his branch were forced to resettle in the northeastern Italian cities of Padua, Ferrara and Venice. They kept up a voluminous correspondence which, hitherto neglected by scholars, offers valuable insights into the ways the members of the lineage sought to reorganise their lives and reconstruct their patrician identity in their new habitat, particularly in the court centre of Ferrara. Gauging the impact of this exile and forced migration on the Strozzi’s sense of their common identity is of particular interest. To what degree was the Strozzi lineage a movable structure, association and ideology across regional borders, retaining Florentine features in its organization, activities, and patterns of social and familial relations? To what extent did the Strozzi as an émigré family and their successor generations remain a lineage bound together by reciprocal loyalty, political solidarity and economic interest?

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Insulting with Style: A Short History of Violent Language

Andrea Rizzi   ARC Future Fellow, University of Melbourne

Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459)Almost 600 years ago Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459) stung his fellow-scholar and bitter enemy Francesco Filelfo (1398-1481) with the following venom:

You stinking billy-goat, you horned monster, you malevolent vituperator, father of lies and author of chaos… May Divine vengeance destroy you as an enemy of virtue, a parricide who tries to ruin wives and decency by mendacity, slanders, and most foul, false imputations. If you must be so scornfully arrogant, write your satires against those who debauch your wife. Vomit the putrescence of your stomach

This is one of the many vitriolic invectives hurled by Italian humanists at their competitors well before Martin Luther, Desiderius Erasmus and Thomas More penned their theological and protestant vituperations.[1] Intellectuals and leaders used violent words, enacted on minds and with the intent of damaging the reputation of their opponents. Their extremely crude attacks and ‘robust’ language have confounded scholars who have generally shied away from these texts…..

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ACIS Cassamarca Scholarship Awards for 2015

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ACIS warmly congratulates Lisa Di Crescenzo (Monash University) and Kristen Sloan (University of Wollongong) on the award of ACIS Cassamarca scholarships for their research in Italy in 2015. Lisa’s research topic is a study of the letters of Luisa Donati Strozzi, written between 1471 and 1510 in exile from Florence in Ferrara,  to explore the consequences of exile for lineage identity and relationships. Kristen’s research concerns the analysis of the growing number of projects to reclaim and revive abandoned villages in Italy and to create new uses for old spaces while preserving the links with their past. As in 2013, the competition for the awards was very strong; the ACIS Scholarships Committee was again impressed by the very high quality and range of the applications and regrets that it could only make two awards.

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PLAGUE, PLACE AND FEAR IN EARLY MODERN FLORENCE

Nick Eckstein   University of Sydney

17thC plague coatIn the plague years of 1630-1631 the aristocratic confraternity of the Archangel Michael, nicknamed the ‘Stropiccioni’ (Zealots, or ‘Bible Thumpers’) sent pairs of its members into the streets and back-alleys of their own city in an unusual programme of ‘Visitations’.  The Visitations were recorded and constitute a remarkable resource for understanding the social and cultural role of plague in Renaissance Florence.

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Tuscany meets Milan @ Datini office™ ☞ 1382

Josh Brown   University of Western Australia

220px-Francesco_di_Marco_DatiniWhen did Tuscan language forms reach Lombardy? The earliest time that Tuscanisation has been suggested for Milan is during the late Quattrocento when Tuscan became a model for the chancery, well before its codification by Bembo in the Cinquecento. But can evidence for an earlier presence be found? I believe it can. My key source for an earlier dating of Tuscanisation is the correspondence between merchants from Milan and the 14th century Tuscan merchant Francesco di Marco Datini (c.1335-1410), the famous ‘merchant of Prato’.

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Sexy e complicato

podcast(Regretful disclosure: not my title, but the one SBS has used to publicise today’s talk by Andrea Rizzi discussing the beautiful exhibition ‘Libri: 6 Centuries of Italian Books‘ at the Baillieu library of the University of Melbourne). The exhibition closes shortly but a selection will remain online.  Andrea’s focus is particularly on the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, published in 1499 in Venice by Aldus Manutius; and he provides a full explanation of exactly what was sexy and complicated about the story (yes, available uncensored on Amazon).

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Visit by Michael Wyatt to New Zealand and Australia: 10 Aug – 3 Oct 2013

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Between August and October one of our inaugural Honorary Research Associates, Michael Wyatt, will be visiting universities in New Zealand and Australia to give lectures and seminars on a range of Renaissance topics (he is the General Editor of the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to the Italian Renaissance) as well as issues in the general field of cultural translation. When he is in New Zealand (10 – 24 August), he will be visiting Auckland and Otago. In Australia (24 Aug – 3 Oct) he will be based at the University of Melbourne and will also be giving talks at UQ, USQ, Newcastle, Sydney and Flinders. We will be putting up here the details of his visits and the topics he will be addressing so as to facilitate attendance. For further information contact Andrea Rizzi.

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