Urbino Renaissance Lectures: The Court and the City
Ideata per valorizzare le radici culturali dell'Università di Urbino (fondata nel 1506) e della città che la ospita, l'International Summer School "Urbino Renaissance Lectures", sul tema "The Court and the City", si prefigge di fornire ai partecipanti gli appropriati strumenti metodologici e interpretativi al fine di poter affrontare gli studi rinascimentali con una prospettiva transdisciplinare e in dimensione europea. Alla fine del corso, i partecipanti saranno in grado di: - apprendere contenuti e sviluppare conoscenze e competenze specifiche relativamente alla tematica "La corte e la città" nel periodo del Rinascimento. - approfondire aspetti noti e meno noti della "corte" rinascimentale (urbinate, italiana ed europea) in rapporto alla "città", attraverso lezioni mirate su diversi aspetti indagati in prospettiva interdisciplinare (vita di corte, letteratura, utopia e pensiero politico, musica, architettura, ecc.). - rielaborare in senso critico i contenuti appresi durante le lezioni, anche collegandoli agli scenari contemporanei.
Created to highlight the importance of the cultural roots of the University of Urbino (founded in 1506) and the city itself, the International Summer School "Urbino Renaissance Lectures", on the theme "The Court and the City", aims at giving participants suitable methodological and interpretative tools in order to approach Renaissance studies through a trans-disciplinary perspective - within a European framework. At the end of the course, participants will be able to: - learn contents and develop awareness and specific skills concerning the theme of "The Court and the City" in the Renaissance period; - gain in-depth knowledge of known and less known aspects of the Renaissance court (of Urbino, Italy and Europe) in relation to the city. This will be done through lessons focusing on various aspects, which will be examined on the basis of an interdisciplinary perspective (life at court, literature, utopia and political thought, music, architecture, etc.); - re-elaborate the contents acquired during the lessons with a critical eye, as well as make connections to modern contexts.
La frequenza al corso, che sarà tenuto in lingua inglese, permetterà di acquisire conoscenze e competenze spendibili a livello internazionale e in vari settori del mondo del lavoro, collegati soprattutto all'insegnamento delle discipline umanistiche, alla ricerca, alla comunicazione culturale in vari campi: dall'editoria al giornalismo, dalla comunicazione attraverso i media tradizionali e i nuovi media sino alla promozione turistica del territorio.
The attendance of the course - which will be completely held in the English language - will enable the participants to acquire a set of knowledge and skills usable at an international level, in various jobs sectors, connected in particular to academic research, the teaching of humanist subjects, as well as cultural communication in various fields (publishing industry, journalism, communication through traditional and modern media) and touristic promotion.
Struttura didattica del corso
Tipologia di attività svolta dai Dottorandi
Il corso ha una durata settimanale (dal lunedì al sabato: 20-25 luglio 2015) e si articola in una serie di undici lezioni. Sede del corso: Sala della Data, Urbino.
The course lasts one week (Monday to Saturday: 20-25 July 2015) and consists of a series of eleven lectures. Course location: Sala della Data, Urbino.
Scheda didattica del corso / Didactical Programme
Discipline accademiche e rispettivi CFU
Letteratura italiana (L-FIL-LET/10): 1 CFU
Letteratura inglese (L-LIN/10): 1 CFU
Storia della filosofia (M-FIL/06): 1 CFU
Storia dell’architettura (ICAR/18) e Musicologia e storia della musica (L-ART/07): 1 CFU
Paleografia (M-STO/09) e Archivistica, bibliografia, biblioteconomia (M-STO/08): 1 CFU
Prova finale: 1 CFU
Academic disciplines and related Credits
Italian Literature (L-FIL-LET/10): 1 credit
English Literature (L-LIN/10): 1 credit
History of Philosophy (M-FIL/06): 1 credit
History of Architecture (ICAR/18) and Musicology and History of Music (L-ART/07): 1 credit
Paleography (M-STO/09) and Study of Archives, Bibliographies, and Libraries (M-STO/08): 1 credit
Final evaluation: 1 credit
TITOLI E ABSTRACTS DELLE LEZIONI / TITLES AND ABSTRACTS OF LECTURES
“From the Court to the Canals: Reinventing Opera for Venice”
Wendy Heller (Princeton University)
Opera may have been invented by the poets, musicians, and noblemen associated with the Medici court in Florence in the late Cinquecento, however, it was only mid-seventeenth-century Venice that it became a veritable industry, supported by noble patrons who sought to glorify the Venetian Republic, but also dependent on the tastes of an audience for whom opera was but one of the many pleasures of carnival. This lecture will explore the relationship between opera in Venice and the courts of Northern Italy, considering how the Venetians transformed the genre for the city, and how Venetian opera would subsequently influence operatic performances in the Italian courts in the second half of the seventeenth century.
“Gothic Architecture and the Renaissance”
Patrice Ceccarini (University of Paris VII - Diderot)
It is well known that the Italian Renaissance of the fifteenth century brought about a radical change in Western thought, causing a shift from the medieval theocentric universe to the modern humanist and anthropocentric world. This huge paradigm shift would lead to profound cultural and technological changes throughout the following centuries. However, the traditional dichotomy between the medieval Ages, seen as the dark Ages, and the enlightened humanist period, is not so clear-cut. As a matter of fact the medieval world has some virtues, deriving from ancient Latin culture, which the Renaissance of Urbino developed on pragmatic terms. For this reason the Renaissance in Urbino distinguishes itself from the erudite and historicized Renaissance of the rest of Italy. It also enhances the archaeological aspects of Roman antiquity. We will examine this paradigm shift through a reinterpretation of medieval architectural concepts. Recent research highlights that such concepts are distant from aesthetic thought. It is a kind of thinking which is based on physics and metaphysics and, in being so, does not have any equals in the history of architecture and of civilizations.
“Vergil and Castiglione: Mediators of Italian Humanist Culture at the English Court”
Roberta Mullini (University of Urbino)
The lecture aims at showing, through hypotheses derived from the analysis of texts and supported by some historical evidence, how Polydore Vergil and Baldassar Castiglione – who were together in London for a certain time at the beginning of the sixteenth century – influenced English Humanism, in particular the production of a member of Thomas More’s circle. Actually, John Heywood’s A Play of Love, besides containing traces of Marsilio Ficino’s Neo-Platonism, appears to show the presence of Castiglione’s impact well before the translation of Il libro del Cortigiano into The Book of the Courtier (1561).
“Court, City (and Country) at Play in Renaissance England”
Ros King (University of Southampton)
In the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, England’s “renaissance” very much involved the development of its identity as a nation state. This was a curiously heterogeneous process which both did and did not include the neighbouring countries of Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and which celebrated a previous identity as an outpost of the Roman Empire, while vehemently maintaining its independence from current foreign domination. London grew in economic importance, and yet was dependent on the rest of the country for labour, food, and the raw materials for trade. While Elizabeth I as Queen never went further from London than Oxford, ordinary people often travelled quite widely. These tensions and contradictions were played out, and also often playfully interrogated, in the literary and performance art of the period: not only on the London stage,but in school halls and guild halls across the country, and in city streets and country byways. The session will look at extracts from a range of texts such as Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, Middleton and Dekker’s The Roaring Girl, and entertainments devised for both courtand people by the city of London and its citizens, including John Taylor the so-called Water Poet, who famously travelled as far as Scotland, was arrested as a pirate on the coast of East Anglia, and sank while sailing a paper boat down the Thames.
“Lyric Poetry at Court in Fifteenth Century Italy”
Giorgio Nonni (University of Urbino)
Generally renown as “a century without poetry”, the Quattrocento actually presents a lyric poetry production of high level, in which the sonnett is mainly used as an istrument of communication related to the new role of the intellectuals within the new born Courts. Poets prove themselves very active with the use of metaphors, similes and images that break the canons of love poetry (in Petrarca’s style) by describing the small details of everyday life. In the second half of the century, a new lyric poetry in the vernacular arises in the city of Urbino, at the dawn of the great season lead by Federico. The greater merit is to be attributed to the poet Angelo Galli. He located the court of Urbino at the center of a literary knot, a real koinè, extending as far as the Court of the Malatestas in Rimini and that of the Sforzas in Pesaro. Even the lords of Montefeltro, Antonio and Guidantonio, were not unfamiliar with the practice of poetry, just like the numerous courtiers and scholars of the Palace of Urbino. This testifies to a practice becoming considerably widespread as a priviledged means of social communication.
“Courtly Literature and “The Book of the Courtier” in the Italian Cinquecento”
Antonio Corsaro (University of Urbino)
In the famous studiolo of Federico, on a door, one can still read the Latin sentence which the Duke wanted to be engraved: Melius te vinci vera dicentem quam vincere mentientem. In an analogous context, in the IV book of the Courtier, Castiglione treated the fundamental principle ruling the ideal courtier’s life: Always to tell the truth to the Prince. The Book of the Courtier is the first and the most important piece of a normative literary genre, in which the ethical parameter ends up being applied to the political sphere, since the Court is the emblematic (as well as real) place of political behaviours which need to be officially determined. However, the political history of the Italian courts is also characterized by opposite principles: unscrupulousness, besides being practiced, is theorized, together with the lawfulness of lying. In fact, in the same period of the Courtier another book, the Prince by Machiavelli, enunciates opposite rules, showing to the modern world the other side, effectual and not normative, of the reality of courts. In the light of the most recent studies, this lecture will illustrate the centre of this dialectical alternative, which represents one of the highest issues of Renaissance Italian culture.
“The Court and the Commonweale. Platonism and Political Thought in England”
Raffaella Santi (University of Urbino)
In the seventeenth century Thomas Hobbes claimed that civil philosophy was “no ancienter” than his book De Cive. Is this claim correct? Or is it true that we can find a genuine (“scientific”) political thought also in the writings produced by the English humanists? While trying to answer this key question, the lecture will explore the influence of Platonic themes (perhaps with the mediation of The Book of the Courtier‘s fourth book?) on English political literature. The focus will be on the advice-books addressed to the king/queen as well as to the courtiers and nobles – for instance Sir Thomas Elyot’s The Book Named The Governor (1531) – and on political treatises meant to be read by a foreign audience – such as Sir Thomas Smith’s De Republica Anglorum (written in 1562-65 and published in 1583). The lecture will end with a brief analysis of Edward Forset’s A Comparative Discourse of the Bodies Natural and Politique (1606) seen as the work encapsulating the spirit of the age.
“The Court and the City. A journey around Renaissance Utopia”
Gianluca Montinaro (IULM, Milan)
The court and the city…These are the two poles around which the Italian Renaissance – and with it the European rinascita – is born, takes shape and develops. However, these are also the specific places in which several features of Utopian thought (the desiring of a place beyond) are defined, together with the aristocratic dream of a perfect number of privileged individuals, chosen by right of birth as well as of culture. The subject of this lecture will not only be Baldassarre Castiglione with his Book of the Courtier, but also other authors and texts of the period, which are the expression of ulterior perspectives coming together to create – in a plural context of various voices – that dream of Renaissance society with its ideals of perfection, which remains undefined and still fascinating
“Renaissance Libraries. The great manuscript Collection of Federico da Montefeltro”
Marcella Peruzzi (University of Urbino)
The library of Federico da Montefeltro contains one of the few Renaissance manuscript collections which survived almost intact and is one of the most remarkable due to the interest of the texts and also to the exceptional beauty of many of the illuminated books. The personality of Federico, and of those who assisted him with book collecting, pervades both through the external aspect of the codices possessed by Federico, which, over time, increasingly glorified him, and through the titles included in the collection. It appears that these were gathered according to a very precise programme, and not randomly. Nevertheless Federico da Montefeltro’s library is a prince’s collection, not just a tool for study. It reflects his iconographic programme aimed at legitimizing Federico’s stature as a political figure, by undermining the fact that he was illegitimate and that he owed his position of power to a bloody conspiracy. The library is one of the most relevant Federico’s cultural but also political investments.
“The Court and the Clergy. The unpublished Letters of the Counts and Dukes of Urbino”
Anna Falcioni (University of Urbino)
The lesson provides an analysis of 178 autograph letters of the Counts and Dukes of Urbino, preserved in the Archives of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Cagli – so far completely ignored by historians, and that a recent reorganization of the Archive has unearthed. From this corpus of letters between the Bishop of Cagli and the lords of Urbino (Guidantonio, Federico, Guidobaldo da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza, Francesco Maria I, Francesco Maria II della Rovere) emerges a reconstruction of interesting events concerning Cagli and the Montefeltro, projected in the broader context of Italian history in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Investigating the religious policy of the lords of Urbino means specifically addressing the problem of the relationship between political and ecclesiastical power. In this perspective, the reading and interpretation of the letters shows a series of interventions in favour of the clergy, secular and regular. The lords of Urbino not only provided generous support to ecclesiastical authorities, bishop and canons in general, but also to religious orders, monasteries, brotherhoods and welfare institutions located in the city and in the Duchy.
“Renaissance Humanism and the History of Philosophy: University, Court, and City”
Lodi Nauta (University of Groningen)
Renaissance humanism is one of the formative traditions of modern Western civilization, but it is conspicuously absent from the philosophical canon. Histories of philosophy often jump from the scholastics of the Middle Ages to Descartes at the beginning of the modern era. In this lecture I will discuss the reasons for this neglect. One of the reasons has to do with a shift in the institutional context in which philosophical thinking was conducted: while medieval philosophers and theologians were university teachers, writing in technical prose, Renaissance humanists had to speak to broader audiences, including the prince’s court or the city council, using the newly rediscovered classical Latin of the ancients. The institutional context thus shaped to some extent the direction humanists thinking took – their style, genres, and themes. In this lecture I will discuss some of these developments, aiming at bringing Renaissance humanism back into the narrative of Western philosophy.
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