Pietro Aretino /3b

➡️Part 1
➡️Part 2
➡️Part 3a

Pietro Aretino, Giulio Romano & Marcantonio Raimondi (second part)

While engraver Marcantonio Raimondi was imprisoned by the Pope for printing those erotic drawings of sexual positions known as “I Modi (The Ways/The Positions),” or “The Sixteen Pleasures”, Giulio Romano, the source of the original sketches remained untouched because he had produced them only for a private, privileged audience, to decorate the walls of the Palazzo Te in Mantua.

Decorum was safe: only when these images were made available to a wider public who could buy them as single sheet engravings, they became obscene.
It was probably believed that elite consumers from the court could view erotica because they were expected to be reasonable in their response to such images and not be lead astray, like ordinary people.

Raimondi languished in the Vatican jail for a year, until some influential friends intervened to secure his release.
One of these champions of freedom was Pietro Aretino, who had the favour of the Pope and negotiated his release from prison.
As an expression of gratitude Raimondi engraved a beautiful portrait of Aretino in 1525.

The poet’s fascination with Raimondi and his I Modi did not end there.
He wrote in a letter:

After I arranged for Pope Clement to release Marcantonio of Bologna, who was in prison for having engraved the “Sixteen Positions,” I desired to see those figures which had driven Giberti and his followers to cry out that the virtuosistic artist who had conceived them should be crucified. As soon as I gazed at them I was filled with the same spirit that had moved Giulio Romano to draw them. And since poets and sculptors, in order to amuse themselves, have often written or carved lascivious objects such as the marble satyr in Chigi Palace attempting to rape a boy, I tossed out the sonnets … which are to be seen below.”

Gianmatteo Giberti was bishop of Verona and had important positions in the Roman Curia.

These sixteen explicitly licentious sonnets were published in 1527 in a second woodcut edition: it was the first time erotic text and images were combined.
The poet narrated the couples depicted in each image as they made love, adding a level of metatextual humour to most of the pictures. He not only described but almost animated them, with the words spoken by the characters written under each image (rather than as speech bubbles as happens today in comics)

Yet once again the papacy banned this second book and destroyed every copy they could find.

The writer went to Venice, where he spent the rest of his life forming a solid friendship with Titian, who portrayed him several times, while Raimondi managed to escape a second incarceration, but was financially ruined.

To be continued

Mentre l’incisore Marcantonio Raimondi fu imprigionato dal Papa per aver stampato quei disegni erotici noti come I Modi, o I sedici piaceri, Giulio Romano, la fonte dei dipinti originali non incorse in nessuna punizione perché la sua opera era stata eseguita solo per un pubblico privato, privilegiato, cioè dovevano decorare le pareti di Palazzo Te a Mantova.
Il decoro era salvo: solo quando queste immagini furono messe a disposizione di un pubblico più ampio che poteva acquistarle come incisioni su fogli singoli, si giudicò che fossero oscene.
Probabilmente si riteneva che i fruitori d’élite della corte potevano gustare l’erotismo perché erano equilibrati nelle loro reazioni a tali immagini e non fossero fuorviati come le persone comuni.

Raimondi languì nelle prigioni vaticane per un anno, finché alcuni amici influenti non intervennero per ottenere la sua liberazione
Uno di questi paladini della libertà era Pietro Aretino che, avendo il favore del Papa negoziò la sua scarcerazione.
In segno di gratitudine Raimondi incise uno stupendo ritratto di Aretino nel 1525.

L’ interessamento del poeta per Raimondi e per i suoi “I Modi” non finì qui.

In una sua lettera si legge:

Da poi ch’io ottenni da Papa Clemente la libertà di Marcantonio bolognese, il quale era in pregione per aver intagliato in rame i XVI modi ecc., mi venne volontà di veder le figure, vìcagione che le querele Gibertine esclamavano che il buon vertuoso si crocifigesse, e vistele, fui tocco da lo spirito che mosse Giulio Romano a disegnarle. E perchè i poeti e gli scultori antichi e moderni soglion scrivere e scolpire alcuna volta per trastullo de l’ingegno cose lascive, come nel palazzo Chisio fa fede il satiro di marmo che tenta di violare un fanciullo, ci sciorinai sopra i sonetti che ci si veggono ai piedi.”
Venezia, l’11 di decembre 1537

In altre parole:
“Dopo aver ottenuto da Papa Clemente la libertà di Marcantonio bolognese, che era in prigione per aver intagliato in rame i XVI modi ecc., mi venne voglia di veder quelle figure che avevano spinto Gilberti e i suoi seguaci (il Vaticano) a richiedere che si crocifiggesse quell’artista virtuosistico, e vistele, fui colto dallo stesso spirito che aveva spinto Giulio Romano a disegnarle. E poiché poeti e scultori antichi e moderni si mettono talvolta a scrivere e scolpire cose lascive per divertirsi, come il satiro marmoreo di Palazzo Chigi che tenta di violentare un fanciullo, ci sciorinai sopra i sonetti che ci si vedono qui sotto”

(Gianmatteo Giberti fu vescovo di Verona che ebbe importanti incarichi nella Curia romana)

Questi sedici sonetti esplicitamente licenziosi furono pubblicati nel 1527 in una seconda edizione xilografica: era la prima volta che testo e immagini erotiche venissero abbinati. Le poesie si riferivano agli atti sessuali raffigurati, in cui le coppie rappresentate mentre facevano l’amore si parlavano, aggiungendo un livello di umorismo metatestuale alla maggior parte delle figure. Il poeta non solo descriveva, ma quasi le animava con le parole pronunciate dai personaggi scritte sotto ogni immagine (piuttosto che nelle nuvolette come oggi accade nei fumetti).

Tuttavia ancora una volta il papato bandì questa seconda edizione e distrusse ogni copia che riuscì a trovare.

Lo scrittore se ne andò a Venezia, dove trascorse il resto della vita stringendo un solido rapporto di amicizia con Tiziano, dal quale fu ritratto più volte, mentre Raimondi, anche se riuscì sfuggire a una seconda incarcerazione, fu rovinato finanziariamente.

Continua

47 thoughts on “Pietro Aretino /3b

  1. Wow. Fabulous post. Very very interesting. Thoroughly enjoyed and loved reading it. Waiting for the next post of yours, dear Luisa. You are so amazing😍😍.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Fascinating, Luisa. As someone who has tried unsuccessfully to write even a bad sonnet, I’m impressed with anyone who can write a good sonnet on a specific topic. Look forward to the next chapter. 🤓

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Pat, I must say that Pietro Aretino was very good at writing sonnets, but his Lewd Sonnets are just too explicit even for me, and I’m not a moralist. Just think that if I had to translate one into English, I wouldn’t even find the words to do that 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your blog on engraver Marcantonio Raimondi is worth reading . Punishment for engraving the paintings of Giulio Romano ‘ I Modi ‘ depicting sixteen pleasure postures shows that how narrow minded was the Papal authority that time . Freedom for arts and expression was a Papal’s prerogative . Had we were living that time and engraving such paintings , we would have also been put behind the bars . But time has changed now . Thanks for such a nice information .

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Anche all’epoca c’era questa antipatica diseguaglianza tra gente ricca e gente povera, 🙄. Come a dire: “Tu, ricco meriti questo, questo e quest’altro. Tu, povero, invece, non sei degno di tutto ciò. Stattene alla larga”, 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️. Mi fa specie che proprio un uomo di Chiesa e che quindi, almeno in teoria, non dovrebbe fare distinzioni tra ricchi e poveri perché entrambi sono tutti figli dello stesso Dio, si metta a fare “favoritismi” su che cosa è giusto per una persona piuttosto che per un’altra, 😞.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Luisa, your posts are so quietly brilliant–by that I mean they cut right to the chase, they dangle as much as we need to know, they don’t linger and labor, they always find a wonderful subject. So I am the one thanking you xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “While engraver Marcantonio Raimondi was imprisoned by the Pope for printing those erotic drawings of sexual positions known as “I Modi (The Ways/The Positions),” or “The Sixteen Pleasures” ….

    Ah! Oh! Ah!
    What marvellous hypocrites those Popes in Rome are or were – themselves being no ascetic men either, many of them producing illegitimate children and known for other debaucheries. They surely were not alien to the “sixteen pleasures” either, I swear.

    Liked by 2 people

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