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).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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This classical knowledge suggested by the re-purposing of the emblem of an antique deity is indicative of a new age in female education, championed by humanist educators such as Vittorino da Feltre and Juan Luis Vives.
He assumes that she will not know Greek and recommends "good Latin translations." (41) At this time Greek studies were still in their infancy for men; however, other humanist educators, such as Vittorino da Feltre, required Greek studies for their female students.
This chapter is most suitable for seasoned Renaissance scholars, given the dense web of intertextual references, as we can see when he summarizes the treatise's impact: "if one compares Vives with the preceding pedagogic tradition from Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino Veronese, through Battista Guarino, Maffeo Vegio, Leon Battista Alberti, Enea Silvio Piccolomini to the great productions of Erasmus, Bude, and Rabelais, while not forgetting how much the Reformation (Luther, Melanchthon, Sturm) owes to this debate, the Spanish humanist is seen to play the role of the protagonist" (201).
Still, one wonders if the results would have been different had he concentrated on manuscripts in the libraries of the Veneto and Venice, where Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino Guarini were active.
Vittorino da Feltre's school, which he called Casa Giocosa (Merry House), becomes "casa dei giuochi" (house of games of chance).
Director of a series of schools in Pavia, Padua, Ferrara, and Milan, he numbered among his pupils such luminaries as Vittorino da Feltre, Leon Battista Alberti, and Antonio Beccadelli (called 'Il Panormita').
Vittorino da Feltre and Other Humanist Educators, by William Harrison Woodward, with a forward by Eugene E Rice Jr.
Bartolomeo Platina (1421-1481), the author of the Lives of the Popes, lived a life that took an unusual number of unexpected turns, including a stint as a mercenary and two different periods of torture in Castel Sant'Angelo mixed in with study under Vittorino da Feltre and John Argyropoulos, membership in Pomponio Leto's Roman Academy, and positions as papal abbreviator and prefect of the Vatican Library.
A date before 1444 confers that honor on Gianfrancesco, best known for bringing Vittorino da Feltre to Mantua to educate his children.
The educational humanist writers influenced by Baldassarre Castiglione and the Italian school of Vittorino da Feltre relied on classical examples of sport's usefulness and stressed the numerous ways that athletic skills could be employed in battle.
There is hardly an undergraduate course or textbook that does not point to Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino da Verona as teachers whose small but highly influential schools taught the children of the elite alongside those of the merchant class, enrolled girls alongside boys, presented the ancient classics alongside the moderns, and encouraged physical alongside intellectual well-being.