Agnolo Firenzuola

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Firenzuola, Agnolo


Born Sept. 18, 1493, in Florence; died June 17 or 27, 1543, in Prato. Italian writer.

Firenzuola, who was a monk from 1518 to 1526, is the author of Discourses on Love (1523–24; published 1548), a book of short stories modeled on Boccaccio’s Decameron. The stories are narrated by aristocrats who profess Firenzuola’s own aesthetic ideals of Neoplatonic love and beauty. Traditional in plot, they depict the joys of sensual love and the hypocrisy of monks.

Firenzuola had a superb command of the classical Italian literary language. His most artistically important books of short stories were The Golden Ass (published 1550) and First Version of the Discourses of the Animals (1541), which he described as “translations in a modern version” of Apuleius and the Panchatantra. Firenzuola formulated aesthetic ideals typical of the literature and art of the High Renaissance in his Discourses on Women’s Beauty (1540). He also wrote the comedies Trinuzia and I Lucidi (an adaptation of Plautus’ Menaechmi).


Opere. Edited by A. Seroni. Florence, 1958.
In Russian translation:
Soch. Introductory article by A. K. Dzhivelegov. [Moscow-Leningrad] 1934.


Fatini, G. “A. Firenzuola.” In Autori vari: I minori, vol. 2. Milan, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
(35.) Agnolo Firenzuola, Dialogo delle believe delle donne, in Prose di M.
47-87; and, Agnolo Firenzuola, On the Beauty of Women, 1548, trans.
(13.) Agnolo Firenzuola, Dialogo delle bellezze delle donne in Opera scelte, ed.
For example, Karim-Cooper makes extensive use of Agnolo Firenzuola's On the Beauty of Women in codifying Renaissance standards of women's beauty, but fails to link her discussion to a seminal study of this work by art historian Elizabeth Cropper, whose alignment of Firenzuola's ideal of feminine beauty with the Petrarchan standard seems crucial to any discussion of the topic.
(8) Agnolo Firenzuola's 1548 treatise on beauty marks out these features as essential to female beauty: See Konrad Eisenbichler and Jacqueline Murray (eds and trans.) On the Beauty ofWomen (Philadelphia, 1992).
(62) Later, the soul-kiss became a leitmotif for Baldassare Castiglione, whose lengthy, lyrical description of a kiss as a 'union of souls', in his Book of the Courtier (1528), seems to have influenced many other Italian writers, including Agnolo Firenzuola and Michelangelo Biondo.
'Women like looking at the beauty of men, as men like looking at the beauty of women', said the Florentine Agnolo Firenzuola in his Dialogue on the Beauties of Women (1548).
Like art, Renaissance comedy plodded on in the ancient theory of laughter as ridiculous, literally ridiculous for the correction of the venial or the ugly.(133) The principal manual on female beauty, Agnolo Firenzuola's Delle belleze delle donne did commend laughter but strangely so by the invocation of Plato.
In the Dialog on the Beauty of Women, published in 1541, Agnolo Firenzuola - or Celso Selvaggio, his spokesman - anatomizes a woman's face and body, from her eyes to her feet, then reassembles the parts in describing the qualities that characterize the loveliest and most lovable of beautiful women, from leggiadria to maesta.