Category Archives: Religion

Il Paroliere: Italian Word of the Week-70

220px-MisalTempi di zampognari, alberi addobbati, e penitenza (‘fraid so) – cosa ti offre ACIS per la stagione? Apri qua e vedi che trovi (peccato, niente cioccolatino). Allora prova qua (utile per gli insonni, no?). Vuoi riprovare? Allora forse qua sotto (meno male, una prospettiva più rosea). Infine, ultima chance, clicca qui (l’esame di latino si terrà in aula 4 il 26 dicembre all 8.30 – per ripassare il tutto Gregoria ti darà una mano…)



Burning emotions: Giovanni Tarantino at the Museo Italiano, Thursday 25 September 2014, at 6.30 pm

image001For about ten years now there has been talk of history having taken an “emotional turn”. If the scholars of the Annales School were aiming to write history from the bottom up, the historians of emotions aim “to write history from the inside out”. They try to recover the history of men and women’s subjectivity, focusing on diaries, private correspondence, gravestones, memorial monuments, ballads, relics, clothes, recipes, textiles, and visual sources. In Burning Emotions: Concepts, challenges, cases for the History of Emotions, a talk at the Museo Italiano in Carlton on Thursday 25 Sept at 6.30 pm, Giovanni Tarantino, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Melbourne, will discuss how different attempts to extinguish a fire consuming a multi-storey pagoda as represented in a late 18th century Japanese hanging silk scroll recently added to the permanent collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts reveal how cultural differences and cultural encounters deeply affected early modern emotional (and technical) responses to burning cityscapes and the enduring memories associated with them.

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Il Paroliere: Italian Word of the Week-55

250px-Dormition_El_Greco‘Chi va al mare ha vita serena
e fa i castelli con la rena,
chi va ai monti fa le scalate
e prende la doccia alle cascate…
E chi quattrini non ne ha?
Solo, solo resta in città …..’
(Gianni Rodari, Poesia per Ferragosto)

‘Often, at the Dormition of Dusk, her soul would take on a lightness from the mountains opposite,
for all that the day were harsh and tomorrow unknown…..’
(Odysseus Elytis, Beauty and the Illiterate)

Gregoria will explain the celebrations …



Carnevale in Fremantle, Feb 28 – March 1

2014 Carneval Flyer emailThe Fremantle Carnevale, now in its sixth year, represents a collaboration between Carnival scholars (with a strong applied focus) and the local interpreters of Carnival’s multiform traditional practices: the visual artists, musicians, writers and performers of Fremantle and Perth. Carnival festivities are observed (in private) in many Australian migrant communities, and there are also other notable Carnival (and Carnival-like) events such as Adelaide’s Italian Carnevale or the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. But the Fremantle Carnival is probably unique in Australia in being informed by scholarly engagement with the anthropology of traditional Carnival practice, both globally and historically. Two valuable discussions: the EU-funded research project ‘Carnival King of Europe’ and the special issue of Social Identities (Vol. 16, No. 4, July 2010) on Carnival’s crossfire of art, culture and politics.

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La festa del Panettone riciclato

Edda Orlandi   Università degli Studi di Milano

514px-Saint_Blaise_Louvre_OAR504Il 3 febbraio, San Biagio, si celebra in Lombardia la Festa del Panettone avanzato. Giorno successivo alla Candelora (“Madona de la Candelora, de  l’inverna sem feura, pieuv, fioca ou tira vent, per quaranta dì sem amu indent”), San Bias (“du ur a squas”) rappresenta l’ultima occasione favorevole per recuperare dalla dispensa i panettoni natalizi avanzati, riciclandoli in omaggio alla tradizione che stabilisce che “San Bias benedis la gula e ‘l nas”: mangiando una fetta di panettone oggi si eviteranno infatti raffreddori e mal di gola fino alla fine della stagione invernale, anche nel caso, si suppone, che le condizioni metereologiche infauste, come quelle di quest’anno, abbiano fatto presagire altri 40 (-1, 39!) giorni d’inverno. Continue reading

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Of Coffee, Cakes, and an Obligatory Saint

Catherine Kovesi  University of Melbourne

Bassrelief of San Martino on the Oratory of the Scuola of San Martino

Bassrelief of San Martino on the Oratory of the Scuola of San Martino

Throughout most of the westernised world we have just celebrated the festival of Halloween. Each year many protest the intrusion of what they see as an Americanised festival into their indigenous traditions, and it did look a little anachronistic here in Venice to see Halloween paraphernalia in many shop windows. But now, barely a fortnight later, the windows are full of paraphernalia for a different and delightful festival here in the city, one with many similarities to Halloween in the ways in which it is celebrated by the children of Venice, but which is completely enmeshed in Venetian tradition. This is the Feast of San Martino, celebrated on 11 November for at least three centuries now.

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‘Madonna dei Bagni … Prega per noi.’

Catherine Kovesi   University of Melbourne

P1020061Wandering along the banchette of one of Venice’s regular mercati antiquari the other day, my eye was caught by a lovely little tazza di caffé. Turning it over, I saw that it was by Ginori, and I felt a little pang that I couldn’t fork out the 40 euros that the stall owner wanted for it.

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RISM: Peter Howard (September 2)


and the Italian Cultural Institute  in Melbourne

have great pleasure in inviting you to a talk on

Charting Cultural Transformation through Renaissance Preaching


A/Prof Peter Howard (Monash University)

Monday 2 September at 6pm

Italian Cultural Institute,  233 Domain Road, South Yarra

How did the artists of the Sistine Chapel wall frescoes develop and execute a complex programme in an amazingly short period of time? How do we explain the configuration of public space in early Renaissance Italy? Who authorized the magnificent display that characterizes Renaissance Florence? These are just some of the questions on which light is shed if an expansive role is assigned to preaching in late medieval and early renaissance Italy. This argument is a reversal of the image of the mendicant “penitential preachers” that Burckhardt constructed a century and a half ago but that still prevails, even among some scholars. Most commonly, the historiography identifies the humanists as the innovators of the day and as the disseminators of a renewed classical culture. This can be overemphasized. I argue that evidence suggests that a traditional medium such as the sermon was just as, if not more, responsible for a new historical and social vocabulary which equipped Florentines in particular to meet the demands of a rapidly changing society.

For catering purposes please book at Tel. 03 – 9866 5931

For more information on RISM please contact Dr Patrizia Sambuco (Monash University).

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From text to stone: translation on the Italian peninsula in the later Middle Ages

Pippa Salonius   CMRS, UCLA


Orvieto’s cathedral

With this blog entry I hope to make the paper I gave at a recent conference at Monash University a little more accessible to those of you who enjoy Italian history and art. I study the Italian cathedral, specifically the cathedral in Orvieto, and much of my work concerns its façade discourse: What did the images presented there mean to their audience? Who was that audience? Who was responsible for the content of that message? The theme of the ANZAMEMS conference at Monash was “Cultures in Translation” and the material I presented concentrated on the idea that translation extends beyond the literary sphere of text into the broader communicational field of ‘the arts’ in general. This is particularly true of medieval Europe, where there was great discrepancy in vernacular speech from one geographic region to another, and the educated ruling class communicated in Latin. Literacy was, generally speaking, a privilege of the educated male élite. In my paper ‘Text and Image at Orvieto’ I was trying to stress how important the language of images was as a universal means of addressing the medieval public.

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The election of a Pope

Luke Bancroft   Monash University

As I begin to write this piece, the one hundred and fifteen cardinals who have been locked inside the Sistine Chapel for the past few days or so have managed to decide who will lead their Church through the next phase of its life. 450px-Musei_vaticani,_cappella_sistina,_retro_02 The world’s most watched chimney billowed forth its white smoke, causing the faithful in the Piazza di San Pietro – as well as the other billion or so Roman Catholics around the world – to burst into rapturous applause, which was only superseded by their joy at the emergence of Cardinal Jorge Mario Borgoglio as Pope Francis I.

In a world of tweets, tablets and smart phones, the Conclave is a rather odd throwback to times past.  A large group of old men lock themselves in a room and cast a secret ballot, and then let the rest of us know by sending smoke signals.  No live Twitter updates, no hash-tags, no social media.  Just the cardinals, a temporary chimney, and some pretty amazing frescoes.  The world’s media does its best to drag the event into the twenty-first century, but it’s hard work to make a 24-hour-a-day live feed of the Sistine Chapel roof interesting TV viewing.  And talk about speculation…‘What do you think is going on inside the chapel, random person wandering around St Peter’s Square?’

Allow me, then, to add to the conjecture by retelling the story of the election of Pius II.  Surely we can trust the first hand account of a pope himself to tell us what really happens inside a Conclave.  Right?  Continue reading

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