This article focuses on the relationship between suicide as an act inspired by the devil and suicide as an act of insanity in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish Netherlands. It has become widely accepted that from the end of the seventeenth century on suicide became decriminalized, secularized, and medicalized, i.e., the devil disappeared from explanations for suicide and was replaced by madness, and so harsh penalties vanished. This article seeks to contribute to the complication of these notions.
In 1619, Marie de Medicis sought to regain her seat on the royal council by leading an armed revolt against her son King Louis XIII of France. She sought noble support through a pamphlet campaign attacking the king’s advisers, and the king responded with his own series of pamphlets. The king’s pamphlets were more widely read and more influential than his mother’s because they responded directly to the problem of resolving the crisis.
Mobile and marginal, street sellers tend to disappear from the historical record, yet they played a very important part in the dissemination of cheap print from the earliest days of Italian publishing. They operated in the most central spaces of Italian cities such as Venice and Florence, selling cheap printed pamphlets, fliers, and images alongside other small consumer goods.
This analysis of Giorgio Vasari’s 1568 addendum to the vita of Leonardo explores Vasari’s rhetorical and narrative strategies to dramatize the importance of both visual artist and patron’s possessing l’intelletto d’arte—“the intelligence of art.” A close reading of Vasari’s tale about Leonardo and the Duke of Milan leads to new interpretive avenues, which reveal how Vasari prioritized his own competing values within a rhetorical program.
When the prominent Henrician evangelical Robert Barnes was burned as a heretic in July 1540, a flurry of pamphleteering ensued both in England and abroad. Coming quickly to dominate this polemical output was the text of Barnes’s last words spoken at the stake, which were printed in at least two languages and published by polemicists of three distinct theological orientations, and which survive in twenty editions.
Most scholars, like Giorgio Vasari in the sixteenth century, have believed the central figure of Botticelli’s celebrated Primavera to be a manifestation of Venus, appearing as a goddess of spring. Careful studies of the history of Primavera scholarship and of the classical and Renaissance texts previously associated with the painting reveal the reasons for this belief, which has only tenuous support from the painting itself.
This essay considers over 150 supplications submitted to the Avogaria di Comun of Venice from 1569 through 1657 by the illegitimate sons of noblemen seeking formal inclusion in the citizen class. Although law codes explicitly prohibited this practice, numerous illegitimate sons pursued inclusion in the citizen class and expected that they would be granted citizen status. Through an examination of these anomalous bastard sons a more nuanced understanding of the citizen class and its relationship with the patriciate emerges.
In late October 1515, the government authorities of Siena were busy preparing the city for the visit of Pope Leo X de’ Medici, expected in the middle of the following month. Palaces were requisitioned to house the pontiff and his entourage, while artists set to work to create the ephemeral architectural elements for a grand all’antica triumph through the streets. Under the supervision of Vannoccio di Paolo Biringucci, artists of the caliber of Domenico Beccafumi and Sodoma worked on arches and other accessories. On the eve of the visit, the pope altered his itinerary and bypassed the city.
This study, drawing on new information from unpublished documents, reconsiders the working methods and responsibilities of sculptor and architect Bartolomeo Ammannati in the context of Cosimo I de’ Medici’s creation of a grand ducal Tuscan empire. Ammannati was an indispensable part of the broader enterprise of ducal and grand ducal building activity, urban development, and court bureaucracy. His success was reliant on skills different than those emphasized by Giorgio Vasari.
In 1563 Johan Wier’s protest against the criminal prosecution of presumed witches, caused much upheaval. He attempted to exonerate these defendants by arguing that human beings are incapable of doing the things they were accused of. It was demons and not humans who were the real offenders. Until now, Wier’s religious convictions have remained indistinct.