The second chapter is centered around the "narrative power" of courtly attire in The Book of the Courtier
, as well as in Castiglione's private letters and in Renaissance works of art in which clothing and accessories are used not only to designate social rank but also to help construct political and national identities.
Synopsis: Famous for his "Book of the Courtier
", Baldassarre Castiglione also composed works in neo-Latin that have never been the subject of systematic, critical scrutiny within the broader context of early Cinquecento court culture.
The Book of the Courtier
, or Il Cortigiano, by Baldassare Castiglione, which has the famous scene toward the end that Shakespeare stole for his last scene of The Merchant of Venice.
Urbino became, for instance, the setting for Baldassasare Castiglione's "Book of the Courtier
" published in 1528.
Drawing on both Machiavelli's The Prince and Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier
, Balthazar presents an informally written book designed to guide the beginning political staffer.
(4) Scholars have described Castiglione's text, both in its original Italian form and in the English translation of Edward Doby as The Book of the Courtier
(1561), as "the most important book of the European Renaissance" and "the most influential and widely read courtesy book in late Tudor England" (Morini 65; Javitch 197).
Discussion of the Renaissance starts with the cinquecento, moving from celebrated manuals of manners and mores such as Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier
(1528) and Giovanni della Casa's Galateo (1558) to the splendour of the Elizabethan court, where the Queen's beauty hid a literally deadly secret: in those days the most widely used cosmetic was the highly poisonous Venetian ceruse, made by exposing lead plates to the vapours of vinegar.
If The Book of the Courtier
, the etiquette guide penned by the sixteenth-century Italian diplomat Baldassare Castiglione, is known at all today, it's probably for its coinage of sprezzatura, a word it uses to describe a very particular, and very practiced, mode of nonchalance.
Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier
(Il Libro del Cortegiano): A Classic in the Making.
In The Book of the Courtier
, Baldassar Castiglione reported a series of conversations which were supposed to have taken place at the court of Guidobaldo da Montefeltro Duke of Urbino in March of 1507, but the work was not published until 1528 after going through several phases of re-elaboration.
This new use of the studia humanitatis, drawing on the classical tradition and on Cicero in particular, was significantly mediated for Renaissance England by Castiglione's Book of the Courtier
. In describing learning as ornament, Bacon's formulation puts an emphasis on a display of knowledge linked with the conception of sprezzatura that Castiglione articulates: a seeming nonchalance and unstudied familiarity with the classics based upon intensive study and practice.
It's called The Book of the Courtier
. Check it out.