Vittorino da Feltre

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Vittorino da Feltre

(vēt-tōrē`nō dä fĕl`trā), 1378–1446, Italian humanist and teacher, b. Feltre. His real name was Vittorino Ramboldini. He studied at Padua and later taught there, but after a few years he was invited by the marquis of Mantua to educate his children. At Mantua, Vittorino set up a school at which he taught the marquis's children and the children of other prominent families, together with many poor children, treating them all on an equal footing. He not only taught the humanistic subjects, but placed special emphasis on religious and physical education. Many of his methods were novel, particularly in the close contacts between teacher and pupil and in the adaptation of the teaching to the ability and needs of the child. He was one of the first modern educators to develop during the Renaissance. Many of 15th-century Italy's greatest scholars, including Guarino da Verona, Bracciolini Poggio, and Francesco Filelfo sent their sons to study under Vittorino da Feltre.

Bibliography

See W. H. Woodward, Vittorino da Feltre and Other Humanist Educators (1897, repr. 1964).

Vittorino da Feltre

 

Born 1378; died Feb. 2, 1446. Italian Renaissance humanist teacher.

In 1423, Vittorino da Feltre organized a school at the court of the Duke of Mantua. Its pupils were children of the duke and his courtiers as well as children of the poor, whom Vittorino maintained at his own expense. By the very name of his school—Pleasant House—Vittorino da Feltre emphasized the difference between it and medieval schools. The subjects taught were ancient languages, Roman and Greek literature, and mathematics, in the teaching of which visual aids and practical work were used. Physical education was well organized: the children practiced horseback riding, swimming, gymnastics, and fencing. Corporal punishment was allowed only for offenses against morality. Vittorino da Feltre’s school was widely known, and he himself was called the first modern schoolteacher.