Francesco Patrizi

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Patrizi, Francesco


Born 1529, in Cherso; died February 1597, in Rome. Italian humanist and philosopher. Representative of Neoplatonism during the Renaissance.

Patrizi served in the Venetian Navy and studied in Padua. He taught philosophy at the University of Ferrara beginning in 1578 and at the University of Rome beginning in 1592. In his chief work, the New Philosophy of the World (1591), Patrizi developed a theory of the world as an infinity in the process of formation and as a hierarchically ordered, animated organic whole. The source of the bond and “kinship” of all things was the light that radiated from the divine all-embracing unity, permeating the entire world.

In his Poetics (1582), Patrizi, who disagreed with Aristotle’s idea of poetry as imitation, developed a concept of the artist as creator. He characterized the state of creation as possession by “divine madness,” or inspiration. Other works by Patrizi included treatises on rhetoric and historiography, and anti-Aristotelian polemics.


L’amorosa filosofia. Florence, 1963.
Della poetica, vols. 1–2. Florence, 1969.


Golenishchev-Kutuzov, I. N. Ital’ianskoe Vozrozhdenie i slavianskie literatury XV-XVI vv. Moscow, 1963.
Arcari, P. M. Il pensiero politico di F. Patrizio da Cherso. Rome, 1935.
Crespi, L. A. La vita e le opere di F. Patricio. Milan, 1941.
Saitta, A. Il pensiero italiano nell’umanesimo e nel rinascimento, vol. 2. Bologna, 1950. Pages 521–67.
Kristeller, P. O. Eight Philosophers of the Italian Renaissance. Stanford, Calif., 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Thomas relates that a Platonist philosopher, Francesco Patrizi, had assumed a chair at the Sapienza in Rome close to the time of Caravaggio's arrival.
Recent work--including that of Doran, Francoise Graziani, and Eva Madeleine Martin--suggests that Peri Hypsous may indeed have played an important role in Tasso's development, as Tasso could have encountered Longinus's theory directly through Robortello's editio princeps or Paganos Latin translation, or indirectly through several early theoretical works that discuss Longinus, such as Pietro Vettori's Commentary on Aristotle (1560) and Commentary on Demetrius (1562), and Francesco Patrizi's Della Poetica (1586).
Luc Deitz's "Francesco Patrizi da Cherso on the Nature of Poetry" describes the controversy this scholar had with Aristotle in his unfinished Dellapoetica (volume 1, published 1586) over the philosopher's assertion that Empedocles and Homer were connected only by metre, and that Empedocles was a scientist, not a poet.
I would place close to him the largely and unjustly forgotten Francesco Patrizi (1529-1597), who knew wonderfully how to combine metaphysics, history, and the poetically beautiful; we know that he was much respected by the Cambridge Platonists, but personally I also regard him a major forerunner of Vico.
The period has been called, not without cause, the "Age of Wonder." The Italian philosopher Francesco Patrizi in 1587 stated: "The marvelous follows us always." This statement could be the epigraph for the period, because "Wonder," that includes both inquiry and astonishment, was a concept central into redefinitions of the mind, the body, the arts, literature, science, and the known world.
Using the writings of Jean Bodin [1530-1596], Francois Baudouin [15201573], and Francesco Patrizi [1529-1597], and also, marginally, that of their contemporaries and followers (e.g., Jacob Perizonius [1651-1715] and Jean Le Clerc [1657-1736]), he portrays the rise and fall of a forgotten tradition in historical writing between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries.
The Renaissance philosopher Francesco Patrizi explained that meraviglia is obtained by means of a combination of words and images that are logically incompatible with each other and by presenting the impossible under an appearance of verisimilitude and coherence.
(18) The Latin oration at her wedding, composed by Francesco Patrizi, suggests that Ippolita's reputation for learning was well known before her arrival in Naples: 'You are outstanding in the sharpness of your mind and in your literary studies, which rarely shine in your sex.
Greek drama, of humanist Francesco Patrizi on Greek poetic forms, and the arguments of lutenist-theorist Vincenzo Galilei and singer-composer Giulio Caccini on solo singing.
An occasion for Renaissance scholars to meet and present their research, this year's lecturers include Elaine Brennan of Cardiff University on the subject 'Sir Francis Drake: The Exemplary English Pirate' and Jacomien Prins of the University of Utrecht speaking on 'Francesco Patrizi, music and the Renaissance myth of the ancient past'.