Pietro Aretino was an Italian author, poet and blackmailer, who wielded influence on contemporary art and politics. His father was a shoemaker from Arezzo, who abandoned his family to join the militia; the father returned to Arezzo dying in poverty at the age of 85, unforgiven by his son, who never acknowledged the paternal name, taking'Aretino' as a surname. His mother was Margherita, known as Bonci. Either before or after the abandonment, she entered into a lasting relationship with a local noble, Luigi Bacci, who supported Tita and his two sisters and brought up Pietro as part of his own family. Aretino spent a formative decade in Perugia, before being sent recommended, to Rome. There Agostino Chigi, the rich banker and patron of Raphael, took him under his wing; when Hanno the elephant, pet of Pope Leo X, died in 1516, Aretino penned a satirical pamphlet entitled "The Last Will and Testament of the Elephant Hanno". The fictitious will cleverly mocked the leading political and religious figures of Rome at the time, including Pope Leo X himself.
The pamphlet was such a success that it started Aretino's career and established him as a famous satirist known as "the Scourge of Princes". Aretino prospered, living from hand to mouth as a hanger-on in the literate circle of his patron, sharpening his satirical talents on the gossip of politics and the Papal Curia, turning the coarse Roman pasquinade into a rapier weapon of satire, until his sixteen ribald Sonetti Lussuriosi written to accompany Giulio Romano's exquisitely beautiful but utterly pornographic series of drawings engraved by Marcantonio Raimondi under the title I Modi caused such outrage that he had to temporarily flee Rome. After Leo's death in 1521, his patron was Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, whose competitors for the papal throne felt the sting of Aretino's scurrilous lash; the installation of the Dutch pope Adrian VI instead encouraged Aretino to seek new patrons away from Rome with Federico II Gonzaga in Mantua, with the condottiero Giovanni de' Medici. The election of his old Medici patron as Pope Clement VII sent him back to Rome, but death threats and an attempted assassination from one of the victims of his pen, Bishop Giovanni Giberti, in July 1525, set him wandering through northern Italy in the service of various noblemen, distinguished by his wit and brilliant and facile talents, until he settled permanently in 1527, in Venice, the anti-Papal city of Italy, "seat of all vices" Aretino noted with gusto.
He was a lover of men. In a letter to Giovanni de' Medici written in 1524 Aretino enclosed a satirical poem saying that due to a sudden aberration he had "fallen in love with a female cook and temporarily switched from boys to girls...". In his comedy Il marescalco, the lead man is overjoyed to discover that the woman he has been forced to marry is a page boy in disguise. While at court in Mantua he developed a crush on a young man called Bianchino, annoyed Duke Federico with a request to plead with the boy on the writer's behalf. Safe in Venice, Aretino became a blackmailer, extorting money from men who had sought his guidance in vice, he "kept all, famous in Italy in a kind of state of siege", in Jakob Burckhardt's estimation. Francis I of France and Charles V pensioned him at the same time, each hoping for some damage to the reputation of the other. "The rest of his relations with the great is mere beggary and vulgar extortion," according to Burckhardt. Addison states that "he laid half Europe under contribution".
"His literary talent, his clear and sparkling style, his varied observation of men and things, would have made him a considerable writer under any circumstances, destitute as he was of the power of conceiving a genuine work of art, such as a true dramatic comedy. —Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, 1855. Apart from both sacred and profane texts—a satire of high-flown Renaissance Neoplatonic dialogues is set in a brothel — and comedies such as La cortigiana and La talenta, Aretino is remembered above all for his letters, full of literary flattery that could turn to blackmail, they circulated in manuscript and he collected them and published them at intervals winning as many enemies as it did fame, earned him the dangerous nickname Ariosto gave him: flagello dei principi. The first English translations of some of Aretino's racier material have been coming onto the market recently. La cortigiana is a brilliant parody of Castiglione's Il Cortegiano, features the adventures of a Sienese gentleman, Messer Maco, who travels to Rome to become a cardinal.
He would like to win himself a mistress, but when he falls in love with a girl he sees in a window, he realizes that only as a courtier would he be able to win her. In mockery of Castiglione's advice on how to become the perfect courtier, a charlatan proceeds to teach Messer Maco how to behave as a courtier: he must learn how to deceive and flatter, sit hours in front of the mirror. Aretino was a close friend of Titian; the early portrait is a psychological study of alarming modernity. Clement VII made Aretino a Knight of Rhodes, Julius III named him a Knight of St. Peter, but the chain he wears for his 1545 portrait may have been jewelry. In his strictly-for-publication lett
Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht, known professionally as Bertolt Brecht, was a German theatre practitioner and poet. Living in Munich during the Weimar Republic, he had his first successes with theatre plays, whose themes were influenced by his Marxist thought, he was the main proponent of the genre named epic theatre. During the Nazi period and World War II he lived in exile, first in Scandinavia and in the United States. Returning to East Berlin after the war, he established the theatre company Berliner Ensemble with his wife and long-time collaborator, actress Helene Weigel. Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht was born in February 1898 in Augsburg, the son of Berthold Friedrich Brecht and his wife Sophie, née Brezing. Brecht's mother was his father a Roman Catholic; the modest house where he was born is today preserved as a Brecht Museum. His father worked for a paper mill, becoming its managing director in 1914. Due to his mother's influence, Brecht knew the Bible, a familiarity that would have a lifelong effect on his writing.
From her, came the "dangerous image of the self-denying woman" that recurs in his drama. Brecht's home life was comfortably middle class, despite what his occasional attempt to claim peasant origins implied. At school in Augsburg he met Caspar Neher. Neher designed many of the sets for Brecht's dramas and helped to forge the distinctive visual iconography of their epic theatre; when Brecht was 16, the First World War broke out. Enthusiastic, Brecht soon changed his mind on seeing his classmates "swallowed by the army". Brecht was nearly expelled from school in 1915 for writing an essay in response to the line "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" from the Roman poet Horace, calling it Zweckpropaganda and arguing that only an empty-headed person could be persuaded to die for their country, his expulsion was only prevented through the intervention of his religion teacher. On his father's recommendation, Brecht sought a loophole by registering for a medical course at Munich University, where he enrolled in 1917.
There he studied drama with Arthur Kutscher, who inspired in the young Brecht an admiration for the iconoclastic dramatist and cabaret-star Frank Wedekind. From July 1916, Brecht's newspaper articles began appearing under the new name "Bert Brecht". Brecht was drafted into military service in the autumn of 1918, only to be posted back to Augsburg as a medical orderly in a military VD clinic. In July 1919, Brecht and Paula Banholzer had Frank. In 1920 Brecht's mother died; some time in either 1920 or 1921, Brecht took a small part in the political cabaret of the Munich comedian Karl Valentin. Brecht's diaries for the next few years record numerous visits to see Valentin perform. Brecht compared Valentin to Charlie Chaplin, for his "virtually complete rejection of mimicry and cheap psychology". Writing in his Messingkauf Dialogues years Brecht identified Valentin, along with Wedekind and Büchner, as his "chief influences" at that time: But the man he learnt most from was the clown Valentin, who performed in a beer-hall.
He did short sketches in which he played refractory employees, orchestral musicians or photographers, who hated their employers and made them look ridiculous. The employer was played by his partner, Liesl Karlstadt, a popular woman comedian who used to pad herself out and speak in a deep bass voice. Brecht's first full-length play, arose in response to an argument in one of Kutscher's drama seminars, initiating a trend that persisted throughout his career of creative activity, generated by a desire to counter another work. "Anyone can be creative," he quipped, "it's rewriting other people that's a challenge." Brecht completed his second major play, Drums in the Night, in February 1919. Between November 1921 and April 1922 Brecht made acquaintance with many influential people in the Berlin cultural scene. Amongst them was the playwright Arnolt Bronnen with whom he established a joint venture, the Arnolt Bronnen / Bertolt Brecht Company. Brecht changed the spelling of his first name to Bertolt to rhyme with Arnolt.
In 1922 while still living in Munich, Brecht came to the attention of an influential Berlin critic, Herbert Ihering: "At 24 the writer Bert Brecht has changed Germany's literary complexion overnight"—he enthused in his review of Brecht's first play to be produced, Drums in the Night—" has given our time a new tone, a new melody, a new vision. It is a language you can feel on your tongue, in your gums, your ear, your spinal column." In November it was announced that Brecht had been awarded the prestigious Kleist Prize for his first three plays. The citation for the award insisted that: language is vivid without being deliberately poetic, symbolical without being over literary. Brecht is a dramatist; that year he married the Viennese opera-singer Marianne Zoff. Their daughter—Hanne Hiob —was a successful German actress. In 1923, Brecht wrote a scenario for what was to become a short slapstick film
Archimedes of Syracuse was a Greek mathematician, engineer and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time, Archimedes anticipated modern calculus and analysis by applying concepts of infinitesimals and the method of exhaustion to derive and rigorously prove a range of geometrical theorems, including the area of a circle, the surface area and volume of a sphere, the area under a parabola. Other mathematical achievements include deriving an accurate approximation of pi, defining and investigating the spiral bearing his name, creating a system using exponentiation for expressing large numbers, he was one of the first to apply mathematics to physical phenomena, founding hydrostatics and statics, including an explanation of the principle of the lever. He is credited with designing innovative machines, such as his screw pump, compound pulleys, defensive war machines to protect his native Syracuse from invasion.
Archimedes died during the Siege of Syracuse when he was killed by a Roman soldier despite orders that he should not be harmed. Cicero describes visiting the tomb of Archimedes, surmounted by a sphere and a cylinder, which Archimedes had requested be placed on his tomb to represent his mathematical discoveries. Unlike his inventions, the mathematical writings of Archimedes were little known in antiquity. Mathematicians from Alexandria read and quoted him, but the first comprehensive compilation was not made until c. 530 AD by Isidore of Miletus in Byzantine Constantinople, while commentaries on the works of Archimedes written by Eutocius in the sixth century AD opened them to wider readership for the first time. The few copies of Archimedes' written work that survived through the Middle Ages were an influential source of ideas for scientists during the Renaissance, while the discovery in 1906 of unknown works by Archimedes in the Archimedes Palimpsest has provided new insights into how he obtained mathematical results.
Archimedes was born c. 287 BC in the seaport city of Syracuse, Sicily, at that time a self-governing colony in Magna Graecia, located along the coast of Southern Italy. The date of birth is based on a statement by the Byzantine Greek historian John Tzetzes that Archimedes lived for 75 years. In The Sand Reckoner, Archimedes gives his father's name as Phidias, an astronomer about whom nothing else is known. Plutarch wrote in his Parallel Lives that Archimedes was related to King Hiero II, the ruler of Syracuse. A biography of Archimedes was written by his friend Heracleides but this work has been lost, leaving the details of his life obscure, it is unknown, for instance, whether he married or had children. During his youth, Archimedes may have studied in Alexandria, where Conon of Samos and Eratosthenes of Cyrene were contemporaries, he referred to Conon of Samos as his friend, while two of his works have introductions addressed to Eratosthenes. Archimedes died c. 212 BC during the Second Punic War, when Roman forces under General Marcus Claudius Marcellus captured the city of Syracuse after a two-year-long siege.
According to the popular account given by Plutarch, Archimedes was contemplating a mathematical diagram when the city was captured. A Roman soldier commanded him to come and meet General Marcellus but he declined, saying that he had to finish working on the problem; the soldier was enraged by this, killed Archimedes with his sword. Plutarch gives a lesser-known account of the death of Archimedes which suggests that he may have been killed while attempting to surrender to a Roman soldier. According to this story, Archimedes was carrying mathematical instruments, was killed because the soldier thought that they were valuable items. General Marcellus was angered by the death of Archimedes, as he considered him a valuable scientific asset and had ordered that he must not be harmed. Marcellus called Archimedes "a geometrical Briareus"; the last words attributed to Archimedes are "Do not disturb my circles", a reference to the circles in the mathematical drawing that he was studying when disturbed by the Roman soldier.
This quote is given in Latin as "Noli turbare circulos meos," but there is no reliable evidence that Archimedes uttered these words and they do not appear in the account given by Plutarch. Valerius Maximus, writing in Memorable Doings and Sayings in the 1st century AD, gives the phrase as "...sed protecto manibus puluere'noli' inquit,'obsecro, istum disturbare'" – "... but protecting the dust with his hands, said'I beg of you, do not disturb this.'" The phrase is given in Katharevousa Greek as "μὴ μου τοὺς κύκλους τάραττε!". The tomb of Archimedes carried a sculpture illustrating his favorite mathematical proof, consisting of a sphere and a cylinder of the same height and diameter. Archimedes had proven that the volume and surface area of the sphere are two thirds that of the cylinder including its bases. In 75 BC, 137 years after his death, the Roman orator Cicero was serving as quaestor in Sicily, he had heard stories about the tomb of Archimedes, but none of the locals were able to give him the location.
He found the tomb near the Agrigentine gate in Syracuse, in a neglected condition and overgrown with bushes. Cicero had the tomb cleaned up, was able to see the carving and read some of the verses, added as an inscription. A tomb discovered in the courtyard of the Hotel Panorama in Syracuse in the early 1960s was claimed to be that of Archimedes, but there was no compelling evidence
Antonio Canova was an Italian Neoclassical sculptor, famous for his marble sculptures. Regarded as the greatest of the Neoclassical artists, his artwork was inspired by the Baroque and the classical revival, but avoided the melodramatics of the former, the cold artificiality of the latter. In 1757, Antonio Canova was born in the Venetian Republic city of Possagno to Pietro Canova, a stonecutter. In 1761, his father died. A year his mother remarried; as such, in 1762, he was put into the care of his paternal grandfather Pasino Canova, a stonemason, owner of a quarry, was a "sculptor who specialized in altars with statues and low reliefs in late Baroque style". He led Antonio into the art of sculpting. Before the age of ten, Canova began making models in clay, carving marble. Indeed, at the age of nine, he executed two small shrines of Carrara marble. After these works, he appears to have been employed under his grandfather. In 1770, he was an apprentice for two years to Giuseppe Bernardi, known as'Torretto'.
Afterwards, he was under the tutelage of Giovanni Ferrari until he began his studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia. At the Academy, he won several prizes. During this time, he was given his first workshop within a monastery by some local monks; the Senator Giovanni Falier commissioned Canova to produce statues of Orpheus and Eurydice for his garden – the Villa Falier at Asolo. The statues were begun in 1775, both were completed by 1777; the pieces exemplify the late Rococo style. On the year of its completion, both works were exhibited for the Feast of the Ascension in Piazza S. Marco. Praised, the works won Canova his first renown among the Venetian elite. Another Venetian, said to have commissioned early works from Canova was the abate Filippo Farsetti, whose collection at Ca' Farsetti on the Grand Canal he frequented. In 1779, Canova opened his own studio at Calle Del Traghetto at S. Maurizio. At this time, Procurator Pietro Vettor Pisani commissioned Canova's first marble statue: a depiction of Daedalus and Icarus.
The statue inspired great admiration for his work at the annual art fair. At the base of the statue, Daedalus' tools are scattered about. With such an intention, there is suggestion that Daedalus is a portrait of Canova's grandfather Pasino. Canova arrived in Rome, on 28 December 1780. Prior to his departure, his friends had applied to the Venetian senate for a pension. Successful in the application, the stipend allotted amounted to three hundred ducats, limited to three years. While in Rome, Canova spent time sketching the works of Michelangelo. In 1781, Girolamo Zulian – the Venetian ambassador to Rome – hired Canova to sculpt Theseus and the Minotaur; the statue depicts the victorious Theseus seated on the lifeless body of a Minotaur. The initial spectators were certain that the work was a copy of a Greek original, were shocked to learn it was a contemporary work; the regarded work is now in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, in London. Between 1783 – 1785, Canova arranged and designed a funerary monument dedicated to Clement XIV for the Church of Santi Apostoli.
After another two years, the work met completion in 1787. The monument secured Canova's reputation as the pre-eminent living artist. In 1792, he completed another cenotaph, this time commemorating Clement XIII for St. Peter's Basilica. Canova harmonized its design with the older Baroque funerary monuments in the basilica. In 1790, he began to work on a funerary monument for Titian, abandoned by 1795. During the same year, he increased his activity as a painter; the following decade was productive, beginning works such as Hercules and Lichas and Psyche, Tomb of Duchess Maria Christina of Saxony-Teschen, The Penitent Magdalene. In 1797, he went to Vienna, but only a year in 1798, he returned to Possagno for a year. By 1800, Canova was the most celebrated artist in Europe, he systematically promoted his reputation by publishing engravings of his works and having marble versions of plaster casts made in his workshop. He became so successful that he had acquired patrons from across Europe including France, Russia, Poland and Holland, as well as several members from different royal lineages, prominent individuals.
Among his patrons were Napoleon and his family, for whom Canova produced much work, including several depictions between 1803 and 1809. The most notable representations were that of Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker, Venus Victrix, portrayal of Pauline Bonaparte. Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker had its inception after Canova was hired to make a bust of Napoleon in 1802; the statue was begun in 1803, with Napoleon requesting to be shown in a French General's uniform, Canova rejected this, insisting on an allusion to Mars, the Roman god of War. It was completed in 1806. In 1811, the statue arrived in Paris, but not installed. In 1815, the original went to the Duke of Wellington, after his victory at Waterloo against Napoleon. Venus Victrix was conceived as a robed and recumbent sculpture of Pauline Borghese in the guise of Diana. Instead, Pauline ordered Canova to make the statue a nude Venus; the work was not intended for public viewing. Other works for the Napoleon family include, a bust of Napoleon, a statue of Napoleon's mother, Marie Louise as Concordia.
In 1802, Canova was assigned the post of'Inspector-General of Antiquities and Fine Art of the Papal State', a
Giambattista Bodoni was an Italian typographer, type-designer, compositor and publisher in Parma. He first took the type-designs of Pierre Simon Fournier as his exemplars, but afterwards became an admirer of the more modelled types of John Baskerville. Bodoni designed each one in a large range of type sizes, he is more admired as a compositor than as a type designer, as the large range of sizes which he cut enabled him to compose his pages with the greatest possible subtlety of spacing. Like Baskerville, he sets off his texts with wide margins and uses little or no illustrations or decorations. Bodoni achieved an unprecedented level of technical refinement, allowing him to faithfully reproduce letterforms with thin "hairlines", standing in sharp contrast to the thicker lines constituting the main stems of the characters, he became known for his designs of pseudoclassical typefaces and styled editions some considered more apt "to be admired for typeface and layout, not to be studied or read."
His printing reflected an aesthetic of unadorned style, combined with purity of materials. This style attracted many admirers and imitators, surpassing the popularity of French typographers such as Philippe Grandjean and Pierre Simon Fournier. Bodoni has had his share of detractors, including William Morris, who felt that his mechanical perfection seemed cold and inhumane. There have been several modern revivals of his typefaces, all called Bodoni, they are used as display faces. Bodoni’s birthplace is set in the foothills of the Cottian Alps, in what was Kingdom of Sardinia, is now Piedmont, he was the seventh child and fourth son of Paola Margarita Giolittii. His father and grandfather were both printers in Saluzzo, as a child his toys were his grandfather’s leftover punches and matrices, he learned the printing trade working at his father’s side, his gift for wood-engraving and printing was evident early. So was his ambition and liveliness. At the age of 17 he decided to travel to Rome with the intention of securing fame and fortune as a printer.
He left Saluzzo on 8 February 1758. In Rome, Bodoni found work as an assistant compositor at the press of the Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, the missionary arm of the Vatican, he flourished under the careful supervision of Cardinal Giuseppe Spinelli, the prefect of the Propaganda Fide, Costantino Ruggieri, the superintendent of the press. One of his first tasks was sorting and cleaning punches in a wide variety of Middle Eastern and Asian languages. Bodoni demonstrated his gift for exotic languages and, as a result, he was sent to study Hebrew and Arabic at “La Sapienza,”. Bodoni soon became the press’s compositor of foreign languages, began to typeset books. Spinelli and Ruggieri were so delighted with his work on the "Pontificale Arabo-Copto" that they allowed him to add his name and birthplace to subsequent printings, he began cutting his own punches. After eight years at the Propaganda Fide press, Bodoni's remarkable skill was renowned, but he was ripe for change. Saddened by the death of Spinelli and Ruggieri’s tragic suicide, encouraged by British friends, he left Rome for England, a country which, under the influence of Baskerville whose books were much admired on the Continent, had become a leader in printing innovation.
Bodoni’s plan was summarily scotched by sickness. After convalescing in Saluzzo, Bodoni started working with his father again. Meanwhile, in Parma, the young duke, Don Ferdinando di Borbone, the prime minister, Guillaume du Tillot, were making plans to start a royal press, they talented to set it up and run it. Father Paolo Maria Paciaudi, the librarian at Parma, who had known Bodoni in Rome, put the young man’s name forward. In February 1768, with the permission of Duke Vittorio Amedo III of Savoy, Bodoni left Saluzzo for the court of Parma, he started work right away. The challenge was tremendous. One of them, remained by his side at the press in Parma for over 30 years. In tandem with Du Tillot, Bodoni acquired everything necessary for a printing business of the highest order: presses, ink, he ordered type from Fournier in France, he used Fournier’s letters for early work published in Parma replacing it with his own imitations of Fournier, developing his own style. His first major publication at the royal press was the extravagant volume in celebration of the wedding of the duke of Parma to Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria, "Descrizione delle Feste Celebrate in Parma per le Auguste Nozze..."As an example of its kind, it remains unsurpassed in its beauty and printing technique, it showed the rest of Europe that the young Italian was a printer to be reckoned with.
Several major presentation volumes would follow, along with the various publications required by the court: announcements, invitations and many sonnets written by those who wished their work to be printed by the great Bodoni. He began a series of specimen volumes, the first of which, "Fregi e majuscule" was in direct imitation of Fournier, his Manuale tipografico of 1788 paved the way for his masterwork
Leon Battista Alberti
Leon Battista Alberti was an Italian humanist author, architect, priest, linguist and cryptographer. Although he is characterized as an architect, as James Beck has observed, "to single out one of Leon Battista's'fields' over others as somehow functionally independent and self-sufficient is of no help at all to any effort to characterize Alberti's extensive explorations in the fine arts." Although Alberti is known for being an artist, he was a mathematician of many sorts and made great advances to this field during the 15th century. Alberti's life was described in Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Most Excellent Painters and Architects. Leon Battista Alberti was born in 1404 in Genoa, his mother is not known, his father was a wealthy Florentine, exiled from his own city, allowed to return in 1428. Alberti was sent to boarding school in Padua studied Law at Bologna, he lived for a time in Florence travelled to Rome in 1431 where he took holy orders and entered the service of the papal court. During this time he studied the ancient ruins, which excited his interest in architecture and influenced the form of the buildings that he designed.
Alberti was gifted in many ways. He was strong and a fine athlete who could ride the wildest horse and jump over a man's head, he distinguished himself as a writer while he was still a child at school, by the age of twenty had written a play, passed off as a genuine piece of Classical literature. In 1435, he began his first major written work, Della pittura, inspired by the burgeoning pictorial art in Florence in the early 15th century. In this work he analyses the nature of painting and explores the elements of perspective and colour. In 1438 he began to focus more on architecture and was encouraged by the Marchese Leonello d'Este of Ferrara, for whom he built a small triumphal arch to support an equestrian statue of Leonello's father. In 1447 he became the architectural advisor to Pope Nicholas V and was involved with several projects at the Vatican, his first major architectural commission was in 1446 for the facade of the Rucellai Palace in Florence. This was followed in 1450 by a commission from Sigismondo Malatesta to transform the Gothic church of San Francesco in Rimini into a memorial chapel, the Tempio Malatestiano.
In Florence, he designed the upper parts of the facade for the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella, famously bridging the nave and lower aisles with two ornately inlaid scrolls, solving a visual problem and setting a precedent to be followed by architects of churches for four hundred years. In 1452, he completed De re aedificatoria, a treatise on architecture, using as its basis the work of Vitruvius and influenced by the archaeological remains of Rome; the work was not published until 1485. It was followed in 1464 by De statua, in which he examines sculpture. Alberti's only known sculpture is a self-portrait medallion, sometimes attributed to Pisanello. Alberti was employed to design two churches in Mantua, San Sebastiano, never completed, for which Alberti's intention can only be speculated upon, the Basilica of Sant'Andrea; the design for the latter church was completed in 1471, a year before Alberti's death, but was brought to completion and is his most significant work. As an artist, Alberti distinguished himself from the ordinary craftsman, educated in workshops.
He was a humanist, part of the expanding entourage of intellectuals and artisans supported by the courts of the princes and lords of the time. Alberti, as a member of noble family and as part of the Roman curia, had special status, he was a welcomed guest at the Este court in Ferrara, in Urbino he spent part of the hot-weather season with the soldier-prince Federico III da Montefeltro. The Duke of Urbino was a shrewd military commander, who generously spent money on the patronage of art. Alberti planned to dedicate his treatise on architecture to his friend. Among Alberti's smaller studies, pioneering in their field, were a treatise in cryptography, De componendis cifris, the first Italian grammar. With the Florentine cosmographer Paolo Toscanelli he collaborated in astronomy, a close science to geography at that time, produced a small Latin work on geography, Descriptio urbis Romae. Just a few years before his death, Alberti completed De iciarchia, a dialogue about Florence during the Medici rule.
Alberti, having taken holy orders, remained unmarried all his life. He had a pet dog, a mongrel, for whom he wrote a panegyric. Vasari describes him as "an admirable citizen, a man of culture.... A friend of talented men and courteous with everyone, he always lived honourably and like the gentleman he was." Alberti died in Rome on April 25, 1472 at the age of 68. Alberti regarded mathematics as the common ground of the sciences. "To make clear my exposition in writing this brief commentary on painting," Alberti began his treatise, Della Pittura, "I will take first from the mathematicians those things with which my subject is concerned."Della pittura relied in its scientific content on classical optics in determining perspective as a geometric instrument of artistic and architectural representation. Alberti was well-versed in the sciences of his age, his knowledge of optics was connected to the handed-down long-standing tradition of the Kitab al-manazir of the Arab polymath Alhazen, mediated by Franciscan optical workshops of th
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian opera composer, known for his long-flowing melodic lines for which he was named "the Swan of Catania". Many years in 1898, Giuseppe Verdi "praised the broad curves of Bellini's melody:'there are long melodies as no-one else had made before'."A large amount of what is known about Bellini's life and his activities comes from surviving letters—except for a short period—which were written over his lifetime to his friend Francesco Florimo, whom he had met as a fellow student in Naples and with whom he maintained a lifelong friendship. Other sources of information come from correspondence saved by other friends and business acquaintances. Bellini was the quintessential composer of the Italian bel canto era of the early 19th century, his work has been summed up by the London critic Tim Ashley as:... hugely influential, as much admired by other composers as he was by the public. Verdi raved about his "long, long melodies..." Wagner, who liked anyone but himself, was spellbound by Bellini's uncanny ability to match music with text and psychology.
Liszt and Chopin professed themselves fans. Of the 19th-century giants, only Berlioz demurred; those musicologists who consider Bellini to be a melancholic tunesmith are now in the minority. In considering which of his operas can be seen to be his greatest successes over the two hundred years since his death, Il pirata laid much of the groundwork in 1827, achieving early recognition in comparison to Donizetti's having written thirty operas before his major 1830 triumph with Anna Bolena. Both I Capuleti ed i Montecchi at La Fenice in 1830 and La sonnambula in Milan in 1831 reached new triumphal heights, although Norma, given at La Scala in 1831 did not fare as well until performances elsewhere. "The genuine triumph" of I puritani in January 1835 in Paris capped a significant career. Il pirata, Capuleti, La sonnambula, I puritani are performed today. After his initial success in Naples, most of the rest of his short life was spent outside of both Sicily and Naples, those years being followed with his living and composing in Milan and Northern Italy, and—after a visit to London—then came his final masterpiece in Paris, I puritani.
Only nine months Bellini died in Puteaux, France at the age of 33. Born in Catania, at the time part of the Kingdom of Sicily, the eldest of seven children in the family, he became a child prodigy within a musical family, his grandfather, Vincenzo Tobia Bellini, had studied at the conservatory in Naples and, in Catania from 1767 forward, had been an organist and teacher, as had Vincenzo's father, Rosario. An anonymous twelve-page hand-written history, held in Catania's Museo Belliniano, states that he could sing an aria by Valentino Fioravanti at eighteen months, that he began studying music theory at two years of age and the piano at three. By the age of five, he could play "marvelously"; the document states that Bellini's first five pieces were composed when he was just six years old and "at seven he was taught Latin, modern languages and philosophy". Author Herbert Weinstock regards some of these accounts as no more than myths, not being supported from other, more reliable sources. Additionally, he makes the point in regard to Bellini's apparent knowledge of languages and philosophy: "Bellini never became a well-educated man".
One critic, Stellios Galatopoulos, deliberates the "facts" presented in the précis, but provides a reliable source for these compositions, Galatopoulos expresses some skepticism regarding the young Bellini's child prodigy status. After 1816, Bellini began living with his grandfather, from whom he received his first music lessons. Soon after, the young composer began to write compositions. Among them were the nine Versetti da cantarsi il Venerdi Santo, eight of which were based on texts by Metastasio. By 1818, Bellini had independently completed several additional orchestral pieces, he was ready for further study. For well-off students, this would include moving to Naples. While his family wasn't wealthy enough to support that lifestyle, Bellini's growing reputation could not be overlooked, his break came when Stefano Notabartolo, the duca di San Martino e Montalbo and his duchess, became the new intendente of the province of Catania. They encouraged the young man to petition the city fathers for a stipend to support his musical studies.
This was achieved in May 1819 with unanimous agreement for a four-year pension to allow him to study at the Real Collegio di Musica di San Sebastiano in Naples. Thus, he left Catania in July carrying letters of introduction to several powerful individuals, including Giovanni Carafa, the intendente of the Real Collegio as well as being in charge of the city's royal theatres; the young Bellini was to live in Naples for the following eight years. The Conservatorio di San Sebastiano had moved to more spacious facilities close to the church of Gesù Novo and the building occupied by the nuns of San Sabastiano, was run by the government and there, who wore a semi-military uniform, were obliged to live under a tight daily regimen of classes in principal subjects, in singing and instrumental coaching, plus basic education, their days were long, going from early morning mass at 5:15 am to ending by 10 pm. Although beyond the normal age for admission, Bellini had submitted ten pieces of music for consideration.