Category Archives: History

Silk, Gold, and Renaissance Masculinity

Timothy McCall (Villanova University) will be giving a lecture, ‘Velvet Goldmine: Silk, Gold, and Renaissance Masculinity‘ on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 in the North Theatre (room 149), Old Arts Building, at the University of Melbourne (free but registration required here). The ruling men of Renaissance Italy wrapped themselves in silks and jewels, feathers and pearls. To dazzle the eye, they wore cloth-of-gold and cloth-of-silver, but sometimes the gems were made of paste, intended to deceive observers. All that glittered was not necessarily gold. Building from a study of material extravagance and the symbolic economy of male court fashions, this lecture explores the shining surfaces and things which adorned lords’ bodies and turns a critical eye to material fictions of luxury.  Continue reading

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Looking at the girl with an ermine

Timothy McCall (Villanova University) will give a talk, Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of a Milanese courtesan: new light on Cecilia Gallerani, the Girl with an Ermine, on Monday 29 July 2019, 6.15pm at the Forum Theatre, level 1 – Arts West, The University of Melbourne (registration here). He focuses our attention anew on Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Girl with an Ermine (1489-1490), a depiction of Cecilia Gallerani, mistress of the duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, examining the artistic representation of Cecilia both within conventions surrounding Renaissance mistresses at court and in relation to visual imagery celebrating her and her lord Ludovico’s identities. New evidence from an overlooked letter and technical analysis of the painting reveals that the relationship between the two began earlier than scholars have presumed (Cecilia was barely a teenager) and provides a fresh perspective on her connection with Leonardo da Vinci and her advertisement of that connection throughout her life.  Continue reading

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Romantic adventures; the Free Cinema movement; and an 18th century duel

This week’s TLS (March 29) is a special issue devoted to European culture which includes three very informative pieces on Italian writers. David Robey reviews the first two volumes of the eventual four volumes on Emilio Salgari (1862-1911) by Ann Lawson Lucas. Salgari’s adventure romances, Robey suggests, all contain the defining features of the genre: ‘heroes of exceptional strength and prowess and heroines of remarkable beauty; idealised passionate love; plots made up of travel, chance events and physical conflict or struggle’ (features generated exclusively by Salgari’s imagination and his life in the library stacks since he never left Italy and had to spend all his time writing). Then Anna Coatman reviews the English translation of the lively London diaries of the film director Lorenza Mazzetti (she announced ‘I’m a genius’ when she first arrived at the Slade School of Fine Art from work on a potato farm and the Slade’s director invited her to come back the next day). She became one of the founders of the Free Cinema movement (‘Perfection is not an aim. An attitude means a style. A style means an attitude’) along with Karel Reisz, Lindsay Anderson and Tony Richardson. Finally, Joseph Farrell describes the duel (‘Pistols for two and coffee for one’) fought, or at least performed, in 1766 between Giacomo Casanova and Count Franciszek Branicki. Branicki was the more seriously wounded but the duellists continued to exchange good wishes daily for their respective recoveries.

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Il plotone perduto: il 26 marzo 1944

Il 26 marzo del 1944, settantacinque anni fa, quindici soldati italoamericani furono trucidati dai nazisti ad Ameglia in Liguria dopo il fallimento di una missione di sabotaggio. Un episodio quasi trascurato dagli storici: e i quindici soldati sono ricordati solo da una lapide in un borgo remoto. Il 26 marzo, al Centro Studi Americani di Roma (via Caetani 32), si è tenuto un convegno con dibattito e approfondimento della storia del “plotone perduto” con interventi dello storico Massimo Teodori, il Procuratore generale della Corte militare d’appello, Marco De Paolis, il vicedirettore di Repubblica, Gianluca Di Feo, il vicedirettore di Rai Cultura, Giuseppe Giannotti, e il presidente della Oss Society, Charles Pinck. La Repubblica (Rep) ha raccontato il massacro, con una versione anche in inglese.

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CIVIL SOCIETY AND RECONCILIATION. VOICES FROM POST-WAR JAPAN, GER­MANY, AND ITALY

22 September 1984

Lasting reconciliation with former enemies after a war is a difficult and distressing process. Yet, beyond the war crimes trials, public discussion of Sec­ond World War crimes in West Germany, Italy and Japan in the post-war period was extremely sparse. Controversies over the responsibilities for key events remain today. CO.AS.IT, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, will host, as a free event, a discussion of the project Civil Society and Reconciliation introduced by its directors Claudia Astarita and Akihiro Ogawa (Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne) on Thursday 28 March 2019, 6.30-8pm at 199 Faraday Street, Carlton, VIC, followed by the screening of the project’s documentary and remarks by Riccardo Brizzi (University of Bologna) and Laura Fontana (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure, Paris). Their descriptions of their own work can be found here.    Continue reading

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ACIS Save Venice Fellowships 2019

ACIS is calling for applications for up to two ACIS Save Venice Fellowships for 2019. The Fellowships are based in Venice, open to postgraduate and early career researchers, cover the three months between mid-September and mid-December 2019, and are worth $8000 each. Fellows will be EITHER a current Masters or PhD candidate in any area of Italian Studies at an Australasian university OR a postdoctoral researcher in any area of Italian Studies within 3 years of successful completion of their Masters or PhD at an Australasian university. The Fellowship is designed for those researchers and scholars whose research and/or career can benefit in any way from a period in Venice and the use of the city’s substantial resources. ACIS expects that people working in the fields of History, Art History, Fine Art, Cultural and Media Studies, and Restoration and Museum Studies will be particularly interested, but applications will be welcome from any field across the humanities and social sciences. Further information about the Fellowships and the application process can be found here and on the page under Fellowships. The closing date for applications is 11 March, 2019.
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Awards for Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2019

ACIS is delighted to congratulate the winners of the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize for 2019 for Best Essay, Best Creative Work, and Highly Recommended. Rory McKenzie (PhD candidate, VUW, New Zealand) has been awarded the Best Essay prize for his project entitled ‘A translation stalemate: The Dark Horse in Italian‘.  Valentina Maniacco (PhD candidate, Griffith University) has been awarded the Best Creative Work prize for her entry ‘Translating the allusions in Tito Maniacco’s Mestri di mont (2007)’. And Nicole Townsend (PhD candidate, UNSW) has been Highly Recommended for her essay entry ‘The ‘enemy other’: Identity and belonging within the Italian-Australian community during the Second World War‘. The abstracts for each of the three entries can be found on the Winners page under Prize on our main menu above.

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ACIS postgraduate scholarships for 2019

ACIS is delighted to congratulate the three winners of the ACIS Cassamarca postgraduate scholarships for research in Italy in 2019. Julia Pelosi-Thorpe (MA, Italian Studies (University of Melbourne) awarded the Dino De Poli Scholarship for her project ‘Imitate da Ovidio: gender ventriloquism in the seicento epistole eroiche’; Andrea Pagani (PhD, Literary and Cultural Studies, Monash University) for ‘Beyond Pinocchio: Italian National Identity in Carlo Collodi’s Works for Primary Schools (1877-1890)’; and Margherita Angelucci (PhD, Literary and Cultural Studies, Monash University) for ‘A New Way of Being Italian through the Lens of Hip Hop’. The abstracts for each project will be available shortly on the Winners page on our Scholarships menu.

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The Leopard at 60

The 60th anniversary of the publication of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard will be celebrated at the University of Melbourne on 12-14 November 2018. On 12 November the writer Simonetta Agnello-Hornby will give an open public lecture, The North and South in 20th Century Italy and the Effect of ‘The Leopard’ in Sicily and in Europe, examining the impact of di Lampedusa’s major work, in book and film (Visconti, 1963) form, in Sicily itself and on European views of Sicilians. The lecture, 5.30-6.30pm in the Forum Theatre (North Wing), Arts West Building (153), at the University of Melbourne, is the prelude to a 2-day symposium, Sicily, Italy and the Supranational Cultural Imaginary, convened by Mark Nicholls (Melbourne), Gregoria Manzin (La Trobe), Annamaria Pagliaro (Monash) and Agnese Bresin (Melbourne and La Trobe) on 13-14 November, 10.00am-5.00pm at the Interactive Cinema, Arts West 353, at the University of Melbourne. The symposium, open to all, will cover many aspects of di Lampedusa’s work, along with analyses of Visconti’s film  and a variety of Sicilian texts, art works and historical events. Registration for the lecture is here. For further information on the lecture and the symposium, contact Mark Nicholls.   Continue reading

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Beauty and Beast: Venice and the rhino

In 1751 Pietro Longhi painted this portrait of the rhinoceros, Clara, brought to the Venice Carneval that year. He depicted the animal eating quietly, indifferent to its owner (carrying the horn which had rubbed off) and to the masked and other spectators in the casotto behind it. Nearly three centuries later the rhinoceros returns to Venice in the form of a symposium, Beauty and the Beast: Venice and the Rhino, on 24 November and an accompanying exhibition, Rhinoceros: Luxury’s Fragile Frontier, 24 November – 21 December, both at the Palazzo Contarini Polignac. The exhibition title reveals the central theme. Both Venice and the rhinoceros are now luxury objects and both are threatened by the desire they evoke. The symposium brings together artists, conservationists, poets, writers, and historians to explore the unexpected intersections between these two endangered objects of luxury consumption. The exhibition presents the works of two artists concerned about issues of fragility and identity in relation to their personal and wider worlds and that of the rhinoceros. Their sculptural creations will be framed against the background of a ‘demand reduction’ marketing campaign which targets the consumption of rhino horn.

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