Petrarch and Sixteenth-Century Italian Portraiture
Petrarch and Sixteenth-Century Italian Portraiture
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1. Introduction (Ilaria Bernocchi, Nicolò Morelli, Federica Pich)
2. Widows, Poetry, and Portraits. Livia Spinola and Francesca Turina on the Portraits of their Dead Husbands (Simone Monti)
3. In Medusa’s Eyes. Petrification and Marble Portraits in Late Sixteenth-Century Poetry (Martina Dal Cengio)
4. The Portrait of the Ideal Woman. Petrarch in Conduct Literature Texts for and about Women (Francesco Lucioli)
5. Anti-Petrarchist Portraiture or a Different Petrarchist Portraiture? A Literary Outlook on Some Non-Idealised Female Sitters in Renaissance Art (Diletta Gamberini)
6. The Shadow of Petrarch. Benedetto Varchi and Agnolo Bronzino on Portraiture (Antonio Geremicca)
7. Double Portraits of Petrarch and Laura in Print (c. 1544–1600) (Gemma Cornetti)
8. Double Portraits and Sonnet Diptychs. Figurative Allusions in the Encomiastic Poetry of the Sixteenth Century (Muriel M.S. Barbero)
9. Images of Women from Subject to Frame in Printed Portrait Books (Susan Gaylard)

Petrarch and Sixteenth-Century Italian Portraiture

The volume presents a wide-ranging investigation of the ways in which Petrarch’s legacy informed the relationship between visual and literary portraits in sixteenth-century Italy. Petrarch’s vast literary production influenced the intellectual framework in which new models of representation and self-representation developed during the Renaissance. His two sonnets on Laura’s portrait by Simone Martini and his ambivalent fascination with the illusionary power of portraiture in his Latin texts — such as the Secretum, the Familiares and De remediis utriusque fortune — constituted the theoretical reference for artists and writers alike. In a century dominated by the rhetorical comparison between art and literature (ut pictura poësis) and by the paragone debate, the interplay between Petrarch’s oeuvre, Petrarchism and portraiture shaped the discourse on the relationship between the sitters’ physical image and their inner life. The volume brings together diverse interdisciplinary contributions that explore the subject through a rich body of literary and visual sources.

Ilaria Bernocchi

Ilaria Bernocchi is Senior Teaching Fellow in History of Art at the University of Warwick, specialising in early-modern portraiture and cultural history. She previously held a Lectureship in Renaissance and Early Modern Art at the University of Manchester and taught at the University of Cambridge, where she obtained her PhD. She has held research fellowships at the Dutch University Institute of History of Art in Florence, the University of Bologna, and has been the recipient of several grants, including the Gladys Krieble Delmas Commonwealth Grant. She has published on a portrait by Bartolomeo Passerotti (2022), contributed to the catalogue of the Stephen Scher collection of portrait medals for the Frick Collection (2019), and to the translation of Agostino Scilla’s Vain Speculation Undeceived by Sense (2016). She is currently completing the English translation of Giovanni Careri’s Jews and Christians in the Sistine Chapel (2023).

Nicolò Morelli

Nicolò Morelli has been Teaching Associate in Italian in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, University of Cambridge, since 2022, where he had previously completed his PhD in 2019. His research focuses on medieval and early modern Italian literature, with special emphasis on the transnational scope of Petrarch’s production, that is, his engagement with earlier vernacular poetry between Italy and Occitania and his intellectual legacy in English humanism. He has published on the issues of animal imagery in medieval Italian literature, investigating the troubled boundaries between the notions of human and non-human in love poetry. His current research explores Petrarch’s place in English early modern scholarship, particularly in the academic milieus of Oxford and Cambridge in the sixteenth century.

Federica Pich

Federica Pich is Ricercatore in Italian Literature at the Università di Trento, which she joined in June 2021. Previously she was Lecturer and then Associate Professor of Italian at the University of Leeds (2012–21), where she co-directed the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies (2018–21). She was Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art (2016) and Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin (2019–2021). She was Co-Investigator, alongside Guyda Armstrong and Simon Gilson, in the project Petrarch Commentary and Exegesis in Renaissance Italy (c. 1350–c.1650), funded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Her research has focused mainly on Italian Renaissance poetry, with a distinctive interest in the interactions between literary and visual culture and in the sixteenth-century reception of Dante and Petrarch. Her current book project is a study devoted to the features and functions of rubrics in printed books of poetry (c.1450–c.1650).