New York University: a lecture by Carlo Vecce


New York University: a lecture by Carlo Vecce


A lecture by Carlo Vecce (Università L’Orientale, Naples, Italy), Casa Italiana Zerilli - Marimò, New York University, New York, 16th April 2013

Thanks to a research fellowship by the Newberry Library in Chicago, Carlo Vecce, a leading Renaissance scholar from the University L’Orientale of Naples, has been able to work on the collection of rare and old books of the Newberry. Among them, he found an illustrated edition of Iacopo Sannazaro’s Arcadia. The literary masterpiece by the Neapolitan author has been recently published by Vecce in a full annotated edition by Carocci (Rome 2013). The Newberry copy presents beautiful miniatures, cut away from another edition: colored borders, initials, musical instruments, exotique animals, and mostly country landscapes, actually related to the text of Arcadia, with a delicate ‘sfumato’ that reveals the influence of Venitian painters Giorgione and Cima da Conegliano. And the landscape, too, recalls not the Neapolitan one, but the Veneto hills, like in Giorgione. Comparing contemporary Italian Renaissance miniature, it has been possible to identify the author of the miniatures: Benedetto Bordon, a fine artist from Padova who worked also in Venice between the end of XVth and the beginning of XVIth Century, and the author of the Isolario, one of the most interesting books on the knowledge of the world in the age of geographical discoveries. More, Bordon was strictly connected with the Venitian printer and humanist Aldus Manutius, and with Pietro Bembo. Other precious copies of contemporary Aldus’ printed books, edited by Bembo and offered to important members of Venitian aristocracy (Dante, Petrarch, Vergil etc.), were actually illustrated by Bordon. And, in fact, beside the vernacular classics, Sannazaro’s Arcadia was also part of Bembo’s strategy in founding the new literature, based on principle of imitation derived by ancient classics. In conclusion, this research could point to a new piece of the complex intellectual mosaic that, at the beginning of the XVIth century, lead to the birth of a new language and literature: not more ‘toscana’, ‘fiorentina’, ‘veneta’ or ‘napolitana’, but really Italian.

A cura della Redazione del Web Magazine d'Ateneo