Roughly a hundred paintings, sculptures, examples of the applied arts, tapestries, miniatures and printed books reconstruct the world of Pietro Aretino (1492–1556), a great thinker of the 16th century

“Men say that I am the son of a courtesan; I am not unhappy with that; but I have the spirit of a king. I live free, I enjoy myself, and thus I may count myself a happy man."

Pietro Aretino

Poet, playwright, scathing wit, counsellor to the mighty and a talent scout of great artists, Pietro Aretino (Arezzo, 1492 – Venice, 1556) is known today chiefly for his celebrated, and scandalous, Sonnets of Lust. Yet he was in fact one of the most authoritative cultural voices of the 16th century, a thinker of whom the secular and religious powers alike stood in fear, a friend to the mercenary captain Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, to Cardinal Giulio de' Medici who brought him to the court of Pope Leo X in Rome, and to such masters as Titian, Raphael and Parmigianino who portrayed him in their works and with whom he corresponded enthusiastically and at great length.

To the multi-faceted figure of Aretino, a pioneer (as Giorgio Vasari himself admitted) in the field of art history and criticism as an independent discipline, the Uffizi is now, for the very first time, devoting a major exhibition, showcasing important loans from international museums. The exhibition comprises over 100 exhibits ranging from painting and graphic art to printed works, sculpture and the decorative arts, recounting Aretino's life and spirit in the places that symbolise the Renaissance where he lived and wielded his immense influence on the dynamic cultural world in the first half of the 16th century: Rome under the Medici Popes, Mantua with the Gonzaga family, Venice and Doge Andrea Gritti, Florence at the time of Dukes Alessandro and Cosimo I, but also Urbino, Perugia, Arezzo and Milan.

The exhibition also includes a film "cameo". In an effort to highlight the deep bond of friendship linking Aretino to Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, visitors will be able to watch segments of "The Profession of Arms", the film that Ermanno Olmi devoted to the figure of the great Medici mercenary captain, in which Aretino, played by Sasa Vulicevic, is not just the offscreen narrator but also appears in many scenes.

"Pietro Aretino and the Art of the Renaissance" is part of the extensive series of events organised by the Gallerie degli Uffizi and the City of Florence in 2019 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Cosimo I's birth, but at the same time it offers us a foretaste of the celebrations for Raphael Year due to kick off in a few months' time..

The exhibition is curated by Anna Bisceglia, Matteo Ceriana and Paolo Procaccioli.

A Brief Biography

Pietro Aretino was born in Arezzo in 1492. After training in letters and painting in Perugia and Siena, he joined merchant and banker Agostino Chigi's entourage to worm his way into Roman society under the Medici Pope Leo X. These were the years when Aretino used his stinging wit to lend his voice to the 'speaking' statue known as Pasquino, in a unique combination of prophetism and all-round political satire.

After spending time in the Po valley, between the camp of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere and Federico II Gonzaga's court in Mantua in the early 1520s, Aretino moved to Venice where he was to spend the rest of his life. He was doubtless encouraged to make that choice, in part at least, by the rocambolesque affair of the Sonnets of Lust and the ensuing rift with the court of Pope Clement VII, the dramatic outcome of which was an attempt on his life on 28 July 1525.

After the Sack of Rome in 1527, by which time he had already settled in Venice, he succeeded in integrating to perfection in a political and propaganda system in which he cooperated with Titian and Sansovino on Doge Andrea Gritti's ambitious urban renewal programme. But then his intuition of the potential offered by the Venetian printing industry radically changed his astonishing career as a man of letters, which was characterised at this juncture by a direct relationship with the world of the figurative arts, in the role of accredited mediator between workshop and patron. Thus in the 1530s, thanks to an alliance with publisher Francesco Marcolini, Aretino managed to forge a profile for himself as "the world's secretarius", praised and feared on every front by the humble and the mighty alike. His matchlessly incisive command of the vulgar tongue extended to embrace all of the literary genres that he practised simultaneously and with consummate ease, publishing in rapid succession his comedies (the Cortigiana was published in 1534), his pornographic dialogues (Ragionamento and Dialogo were published between 1534 and 1536), his Letters (the first book was published in 1538) and his paraphrases of the Bible and hagiographic revisitations (published between 1534 and 1543).

He settled stably in the imperial orbit in 1536, receiving a stipend from Charles V and cultivating a complex patronage rapport with Alfonso d'Avalos, the Governor of Milan. But it was in 1539, when Pietro Bembo was made a cardinal in the new climate of Paul III Farnese's pontificate, that Aretino added a new piece to the construction of his persona by, for many years, fuelling the dream of also one day being raised to the purple and thus of joining the ranks of the papal court. Yet while not totally groundless, his hopes were to be dashed in the early 1550s at the very moment in which his virtual fellow countryman Cardinal Del Monte's election to the papacy as Julius III appeared to hold such promise. Death took him without warning in Venice on 21 October 1556, leaving behind it a trail of infamy that even succeeded, over time, in suggesting that he had died from laughing too much. In 1559, under Pope Paul IV Carafa, his entire literary output was officially banned, although it continued to enjoy clandestine circulation under the pseudonym Partenio Etiro. It has taken centuries to banish a black aura that recent scholarship alone has managed to dispel, restoring one of the leading figures of the Italian Renaissance to the place he so eminently deserves.

 

 

 

 

 

Tiziano Vecellio (Pieve di Cadore, 1488/1490 - Venezia, 1576) Ritratto di Pietro Aretino olio su tela 1545 Galleria Palatina, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Firenze | Titian (Pieve di Cadore, 1488/90 – Venice, 1576) Portrait of Pietro Aretino oil on canvas 1545 Galleria Palatina, Gallerie degli Uffizi, FlorenceSebastiano Luciani detto Sebastiano del Piombo (Venezia, 1485 - Roma, 1547) Morte di Adone 1512 olio su tela Galleria delle Statue e delle Pitture, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Firenze | Sebastiano Luciani known as Sebastiano del Piombo (Venice, 1485 – Rome, 1547) The Death of Adonis 1512 oil on canvas Galleria delle Statue e delle Pitture, Gallerie degli Uffizi, FlorenceRaffaello (Urbino, 1483-Roma, 1520) e Giulio Pippi, detto Giulio Romano (Roma, 1499-Mantova, 1546) Ritratto di giovane donna 1518-1520 ca. olio su tavola Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg | Sebastiano Luciani known as Sebastiano del Piombo (Venice, 1485 – Rome, 1547) The Death of Adonis 1512 oil on canvas Galleria delle Statue e delle Pitture, Gallerie degli Uffizi, FlorenceGiovanni Antonio Dosio (San Gimignano, 1533-Caserta, 1609) Villa Chigi alla Lungara (Farnesina Chigi) in “Libro dell’Architettura della Vecchia Roma con alcuni disegni moderni, per un valente Scultor et Architetto in la citta di Roma, con gran diligenza comportato”, ff. 27v-28r seconda metà del XVI sec. disegno su carta Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stoccarda | Giovanni Antonio Dosio (San Gimignano, 1533-Caserta, 1609) Villa Chigi alla Lungara (Chigi Farnesina) in “Libro dell’Architettura della Vecchia Roma con alcuni disegni moderni, per un valente Scultor et Architetto in la citta di Roma, con gran diligenza comportato” pen and black ink, light grey wash Württembergische Landesbibliothek, StuttgartGiovanni Antonio Bazzi, detto Sodoma (Vercelli, 1477-Siena, 1549) Lucrezia romana post 1517 olio su tavola Galleria Sabauda, Torino | Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, known as Sodoma (Vercelli, 1477-Siena, 1549) Lucrezia romana after 1517 oil on wood Galleria Sabauda, TurinLorenzo Lotto (Venezia, 1480 ca.-Loreto, 1556-1557) Ritratto di donna con un disegno di Lucrezia 1530-1533 ca. olio su tela The National Gallery, Londra | Lorenzo Lotto (Venice, c. 1480 – Loreto, 1556–7) Portrait of a Woman Inspired by Lucretia c. 1530-33 oil on canvas The National Gallery, LondonBottega di Pieter van Aelst (Pieter I van Edingen o Enghien, 1450 ca.-1533), su disegno e cartone di Raffaello e bottega Bordura con le Stagioni per la serie degli Atti degli Apostoli 1515-1521 lana, seta, argento dorato Musei Vaticani, Roma | Workshop of Pieter van Aelst, known as Pieter van Edingen or Enghien (c. 1450 – 1533), after a drawing and cartoon by Raphael and his workshop Around the border, the Seasons for the Acts of the Apostles series 1515-21 wool, silk, silver gilt  Vatican Museum, RomeValerio Belli (Vicenza, 1468-1546) Cassetta Medici 1532 argento dorato, smalti, cristallo di rocca inciso e controfondato con foglie d’argento Tesoro dei Granduchi, Gallerie degli Uffizi, FirenzeGirolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, detto Parmigianino (Parma, 1503-Casalmaggiore, 1540) Madonna col Bambino 1529 ca. pietra rossa con tracce di biacca su carta gialletta Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Firenze | Francesco Mazzola, known as Parmigianino (Parma, 1503-Casalmaggiore, 1540) Madonna and Child c. 1529 red chalk with traces of lead white on yellowish paper Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe, Gallerie degli Uffizi, FlorenceParis Bordon (Treviso, 1500-Venezia, 1571) Gli amanti veneziani 1525-1530 olio su tela Pinacoteca di Brera, Milano | Paris Bordon (Treviso, 1500-Venice, 1571) The Venetian Lovers 1525-30 oil on canvas Pinacoteca di Brera, MilanPietro Aretino e anonimo incisore veneziano Sonetti lussuriosi [Sonetti sopra i XVI modi] noto come “opuscolo Toscanini”, “T” post 1537? - 1550 ca. xilografia Collezione privata | Valerio Belli (Vicenza, 1468-1546) Medici Casket 1532 silver gilt, enamels, 24 rock crystal panels engraved and backed with silver leaf Tesoro dei Granduchi, Gallerie degli Uffizi, FlorencePietro Aretino e anonimo incisore veneziano Sonetti lussuriosi [Sonetti sopra i XVI modi] noto come “opuscolo Toscanini”, “T” post 1537? - 1550 ca. xilografia Collezione privata | Valerio Belli (Vicenza, 1468-1546) Medici Casket 1532 silver gilt, enamels, 24 rock crystal panels engraved and backed with silver leaf Tesoro dei Granduchi, Gallerie degli Uffizi, FlorenceJacopo de Tatti, detto Sansovino (Firenze, 1486-Venezia, 1570) Laocoonte 1510-1525 (?) Bronzo con patina scura Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Firenze | Jacopo de Tatti, known as Sansovino (Florence, 1486 – Venice, 1570) Laocoön 1510–25 (?) bronze with dark patina Museo Nazionale del Bargello, FlorenceAnonimo intagliatore, da Jacopo de’ Barbari (Venezia, 1460/70-Belgio, 1516 ca.) Veduta di Venezia a volo d’uccello xilografia in sei fogli 1500 Museo Correr, Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Venezia | Anonymous engraver, after Jacopo de' Barbari (Venice, 1460/70 – Belgium, c. 1516) Bird's eye view of Venice 1500  woodcut in six sheets Museo Correr, Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, VeniceGiorgio Vasari (Arezzo, 1511-Firenze, 1574) La Pazienza 1542 olio su tavola Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venezia | Giorgio Vasari (Arezzo, 1511- Florence, 1574) Patience 1542 oil on wood  Gallerie dell’Accademia, VenicePietro Aretino (Arezzo, 1492 – Venezia, 1556) Cortigiana Comedia, frontespizio Venezia, Marcolini-da Sabio, 1534 Raccolte Piancastelli, O Marcolini, Biblioteca Comunale Saffi, Forlì | Pietro Aretino (Arezzo, 1492 – Venice, 1556) Cortigiana Comedia Venezia, Marcolini-da Sabio, 1534 Raccolte Piancastelli, O Marcolini, Biblioteca Comunale Saffi, ForlìPietro Aretino (Arezzo, 1492 – Venezia, 1556) De le lettere di M. Pietro Aretino. Libro primo, frontespizio Venezia, Marcolini, 1538  Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Firenze | Pietro Aretino (Arezzo, 1492 – Venice, 1556) De le lettere di M. Pietro Aretino. Libro primo Venezia, Marcolini, 1538  Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, FlorenceGiovanni Antonio de’ Sacchis, detto Pordenone (Pordenone, 1483/1484-Ferrara, 1539) Uccisione di san Pietro martire da Verona anni Venti del XVI sec., seconda metà penna e inchiostro, pennello e inchiostro diluito, pietra nera, biacca, su carta cerulea sbiadita Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Firenze | Giovanni Antonio de' Sacchis, known as Pordenone (Pordenone, 1483/4-Ferrara, 1539) Death of St. Peter Martyr of Verona c. 1525–8 pen and ink, brush and ink wash, black chalk, lead white, on faded light blue paper Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe, Gallerie degli Uffizi, FlorenceTiziano Vecellio (Pieve di Cadore, 1488/1490 - Venezia, 1576) Stendardo processionale della Compagnia del Corpus Domini di Urbino, Resurrezione 1542-1544 olio su tela Galleria Nazionale della Marche, Urbino | Titian (Pieve di Cadore, 1488/1490 - Venice, 1576) Processional banner of the Compagnia del Corpus Domini of Urbino, Resurrection 1542-4 oil on canvas Galleria Nazionale della Marche, UrbinoDanese Cattaneo (Colonnata, 1510 ca.-Padova, 1572) Busto di Lazzaro Bonamico 1554 ca. bronzo Museo Civico, Bassano del Grappa | Danese Cattaneo (Colonnata, c. 1510 – Padua, 1572) Bust of Lazzaro Bonamico c. 1554 bronze Museo Civico, Bassano del Grappa
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Pietro Aretino

and Art of the Renaissance

Gli Uffizi

27 November 2019 – 1 March 2020

Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali

Gallerie degli Uffizi

Firenze Musei

Catalogue published by Giunti

 

Opening hours

Tuesday – Sunday from 8.15 am to 6.50 pm;

the ticket office closes at 5.45 pm;

closed Monday

Admission                   

full price € 12.00; concession € 2.00 for EU citizens aged 18 to 25;

Admission free: for children of any nationality under the age of 18, disabled visitors and one carer, journalists members of the Italian journalist order, academic staff and students of architecture, cultural heritage conservation and the educational sciences, or pursuing the archaeology or art history pathway in a degree course in the humanities and philosophy, or a degree or equivalent course in any European Union member country, and for Italian full-time or part-time teachers in state schools or the equivalent.

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Guided tours for school groups by appointment only

€ 3.00 per student.

Information and reservations: Firenze Musei (+39) 055.294883

Guided tour service

Information and reservations: Firenze Musei +39.055.290383

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