Book Chapter

Poggio and Alberti Revisited

  • David Marsh

The careers of the Curial secretaries Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) reveal many parallels. In 1437-1438 the Este court of Ferrara, where Eugenius IV convoked a church council, provided a focal point for their friendship. It was to the Ferrarese canon Francesco Marescalchi that Poggio dedicated Book 1 of his Latin epistles (1436), and Alberti his Hundred Apologues (1437). Both men were inspired to critiques of contemporary society by the Greek satirist Lucian, and both indulged in composing brief witticisms that expose human vice: Poggio in his Facetiae (Jests) and Alberti in his Apologi (Fables) and Vita (Autobiography). From Lucian, they also learned to dramatize human foibles on the imagined stage of the theatrum mundi, or theater of the world: Poggio in his dialogues, and Alberti in both the Intercenales and Momus. Despite such literary affinities, their approach to ethical questions differed, especially concerning the validity of allegory, which Poggio rejected but Alberti embraced. As a tribute to his colleague, Alberti dedicated Book 4 of his Intercenales to Poggio; he prefaced the work with an ironic Aesopic fable that asserts the superiority of recondite scientific research over commonplace humanistic studies. Eventually, Alberti’s status as an outsider in Florence was reflected in the deterioration in his relations with Poggio. The rift was widened in 1441, when Alberti organized the Italian poetic competition called the Certame Coronario that was held in the Florence cathedral on October 22. Poggio was a member of the jury that, to Alberti’s chagrin, refused to declare a winner.

  • Keywords:
  • Aesopic fables,
  • Leon Battista Alberti,
  • Este court in Ferrara,
  • Francesco Filelfo,
  • Lucian of Samosata,
  • theatrum mundi (theater of the world),
  • Virgil and allegory.,
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David Marsh

Rutgers University, United States

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  2. Alberti L.B. 1987, Dinner Pieces: A Translation of the Intercenales, ed. and trans. by D. Marsh, MRTS, Binghamton.
  3. Alberti L.B. 2003a, Intercenales, ed. by F. Bacchelli and L. D’Ascia, Pendragon, Bologna.
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  13. Cardini R. 1993, Alberti e la nascita dell’umorismo moderno, «Schede umanistiche», 1, pp. 31-85.
  14. Cardini R., Regoliosi M. (eds.) 2007, Alberti e la cultura del Quattrocento. Atti del Convegno internazionale del Comitato Nazionale VI centenario della nascita di Leon Battista Alberti, Firenze, 16-17-18 dicembre 2004, 2 vols., Polistampa, Firenze.
  15. Celenza C. 1999, Renaissance Humanism and the Papal Curia: Lapo da Castiglionchio the Younger’s De curiae commodis, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.
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  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Pages: 89-102
  • Content License: CC BY 4.0
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  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Content License: CC BY 4.0
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Chapter Information

Chapter Title

Poggio and Alberti Revisited

Authors

David Marsh

Language

English

DOI

10.36253/978-88-6453-968-3.08

Peer Reviewed

Publication Year

2020

Copyright Information

© 2020 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Table of Contents

Book Title

Poggio Bracciolini and the Re(dis)covery of Antiquity: Textual and Material Traditions

Book Subtitle

Proceedings of the Symposium Held at Bryn Mawr College on April 8-9, 2016

Editors

Roberta Ricci

Peer Reviewed

Number of Pages

220

Publication Year

2020

Copyright Information

© 2020 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Publisher Name

Firenze University Press

DOI

10.36253/978-88-6453-968-3

ISBN Print

978-88-6453-967-6

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978-88-6453-968-3

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Atti

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2239-3307

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2704-6230

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