Pietro Aretino’s Death/1

Pietro Aretino’s whole life seems to have been one long and often seedy adventure, so it somehow fits in with his death, which occurred in Venice on 21 October 1556 when he was 64 years old.

Legend has it that it happened in an extremely peculiar way at the end of a party at Palazzo Dandolo, where he had moved five years earlier.
The atmosphere was cheerful, and salacious stories were being told. When one of the guests began to tell a particularly obscene story involving the writer’s sisters and the Arezzo brothel they were employed at, he started to laugh so hard that he fell back from his chair and hit his head.
According to another version, the fit of laughter was caused by the sight of a pet monkey who, after stealing his boots, had worn them and was trying to walk awkwardly while tumbling, screaming and falling all the time
Some say that he was struck by apoplexy, that is, a cerebral haemorrhage while laughing or that his death was caused by suffocation from laughing so hard. Whichever theory is correct, all accounts agree that it was laughter that killed him.

A document preserved in the public archives of Arezzo testifies that he died “in a Christian manner” . It is a statement signed by the parish priest Pietro Paolo Demetrio on 21 September 1556 in which he declares that Mr. Pietro Aretino, who was living in his parish of San Luca Evangelista in Venice, some time before his death, on Maundy Thursday, “went to confession and took Holy Communion, weeping extremely”. He also assisted Aretino in the last hours of his life (after he had fallen from a chair), gave him the sacraments and buried him Christianly
From this it would seem that he died in a Christian way, however French professor Paul Larivaille, of the University of Nanterre, argues that the document is a sensational forgery, created by a group of nobles from Arezzo in the hope of putting an end to the notorious rumors that circulated about their fellow citizen .
The declaration was made years later, in 1581 by the parish priest (of that time) of the church of San Luca in Venice, where Aretino had died in 1556, but the priest could not have celebrated his funeral since he took up service in that parish only in 1577, that is, 21 years later. the writer’s death.

In 1559, three years after his death, Pope Paul IV created the Index of Prohibited Books (Index librorum prohibitorum), a list of publications prohibited by the Catholic Church, and all his works were banned not only for the their content, but because he had bothered many powerful people.
The smear campaign against him lasted for centuries and relegated him among the minor writers.
However, at the end of the eighteenth century he began to be regarded as a brilliant forerunner and today Pietro Aretino is unanimously considered a symbol of Renaissance literature, a great writer and art critic, who acted as an agent and promoter for his artist friends.

As well as being a huge influencer, he led the emancipation of writers from dependence on court patronage. Despite his modest origins and lack of formal education, he managed to overcome class barriers and become friends with nobles and princes.

In England Aretino, who dedicated his second book of letters to Henry VIII, remained popular and influential until the end of the sixteenth century, but with the rise of Puritanism the advocate of natural sexuality was regarded as a pornographer, and the “scourge of princes” was downgraded to blackmailer. Unfortunately, these disparaging stereotypes remained largely unchallenged until the end of the 20th century.


to be continued

L’intera vita di Pietro Aretino sembra essere stata un’avventura lunga e spesso un po’ squallida, quindi in qualche modo si adatta alla sua morte, avvenuta a Venezia il 21 ottobre 1556 quando aveva 64 anni.

Si narra che sia stata una morte un po’ particolare al termine di una festa a Palazzo Dandolo, dove si era trasferito cinque anni prima.

L’atmosfera era allegra, soprattutto per le barzellette un po’ sconce che venivano raccontate. Quando uno degli ospiti si mise a narrare una storiella particolarmente oscena che coinvolgeva le sorelle dello scrittore e il bordello di Arezzo in cui lavoravano, l’Aretino si mise a ridere rise così tanto da cadere all’indietro dalla sedia sbattendo la testa

Secondo un’altra versione l’accesso di riso gli sarebbe venuto alla vista di una scimmietta che si era infilata i suoi stivali e camminava goffamente inciampando, strillando e cadendo in continuazione.

Alcuni dicono che fu colpito da apoplessia, cioè da un’emorragia cerebrale mentre rideva o che la sua morte fu causata dal soffocamento per aver riso così forte. Qualunque sia la teoria corretta, tutti i resoconti concordano sul fatto che fu una risata a ucciderlo.

Un documento conservato presso l’Archivio pubblico di Arezzo testimonia che sia morto “cristianamente”. Si tratta di una dichiarazione firmata dal pievano Pietro Paolo Demetrio il 21 settembre 1556 in cui si legge quanto segue:
‘l Sig. Pietro Aretino poeta stanziava nella mia parrocchia de San Luca sopra ‘l Canal Grande di Rialto, nelle case del claris.mo Senatore il Sig. Leonardo Dandolo — et è sepolto nella chiesa mia de San Luca Evangelista da molti anni … ; et io Pietro Paolo Demetrio, Pievano della detta chiesa, feci l’ufficio et l’ esequie et l’ho sepolto cristianamente; il quale, il Giovedì Santo innanzi che egli finisse gli ultimi suoi giorni, il detto Sig. Pietro Aretino si confessò et in detta mia chiesa, il detto giorno, pigliò la Santissima Comunione, piangendo lui estremamente”

Recentemente il professore francese Paul Larivaille, dell’università’ di Nanterre, ha sostenuto che quel documento sarebbe un clamoroso falso creato ad arte da un gruppo nobili di Arezzo, nella speranza di porre fine alle voci infamanti che circolarono sul loro concittadino.

La dichiarazione del prete che asserisce di aver assistito l’Aretino nelle sue ultime ore di vita dopo la sua caduta da una sedia (“ morte subitanea giu d’una cadrega d’apozzo”), di avergli amministrato i sacramenti e di averlo sepolto cristianamente fu resa solo nel 1581. In quel momento Demetrio era sì il pievano della chiesa di San Luca a Venezia, la parrocchia in cui l’Aretino era morto nel 1556, però non poteva aver celebrato le esequie dello scrittore per il semplice fatto che prese servizio in quella parrocchia soltanto nel 1577, cioè ben 21 anni dopo la morte dello letterato.

Tre anni dopo la sua morte, nel 1559, papa Paolo IV creò l‘Indice dei libri proibiti ( Index librorum prohibitorum) , un elenco di pubblicazioni proibite dalla Chiesa cattolica, e tutte le opera di Pietro Aretino vennero messe al bando non solo per il loro contenuto, ma perché aveva dato fastidio a molti personaggi potenti,

La campagna diffamatoria contro di lui durò per secoli e lo relegò tra gli scrittori privi di valore e di valori.
Tuttavia alla fine del Settecento la sua figura di geniale precursore dei tempi cominciò a essere riabilitata e oggi Pietro Aretino è considerato all’unanimità un personaggio simbolo della letteratura rinascimentale, grande scrittore e critico d’arte, che fece da agente e promotore per i suoi amici artisti.
Oltre a essere un importante influencer, guidò l’emancipazione degli scrittori dalla dipendenza dal mecenatismo di corte, e nonostante le origini modeste e la mancanza di istruzione formale, riuscì a superare le barriere di classe diventando amico di nobili e principi.

In Inghilterra l’ Aretino dedicò il suo secondo libro di lettere a Enrico VIII e rimase popolare e influente fino alla fine del Cinquecento, ma con l’ascesa del puritanesimo il difensore della sessualità schietta e naturale venne bollato come pornografo e “ il flagello dei principi” fu retrocesso a puro e semplice ricattatore. Purtroppo questi stereotipi denigratori sono rimasti in gran parte incontrastati fino alla fine del XX secolo.


continua

74 thoughts on “Pietro Aretino’s Death/1

  1. Wow. And a double wow! This is such an interesting and captivating article. Really love and look forward to reading your blogs every day. 😊😊. Have a splendid weekend🍕🏠🎉

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Nice information . That Pietro Aretino was considered as a great forerunner writer of Renaissance only in the 18th century . Though not much educated, Aretino became more popular among the nobles and social elites of that time . With the rise of puritanical movement in England , even natural sexuality was considered as pornography and he was categorized as a writer of sensuality and pornographer as such . But again in the twentieth century he got that honor and respect of which he was deserved for . And he died while laughing . That showed that for a serious writer laughter is the essence of not only of life but of death also . And Luisa , you deserve appreciation for making us all aware about a literary giant like Pietro Aretino as such . Thanks !

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Per un uomo che aveva una vita lussuosa intorno a sé, aveva senso che sarebbe stato agli occhi della società di quel tempo. E per comprendere meglio le sue avventure di poeta, basta leggere un frammento della sua poesia per immaginare lo scandalo che causò tra gli ecclesiastici.
    “QUESTO CAZZO VOCGIO NO UN TESORO”
    !Q uesto cazzo voglio, non un tesoro!
    Q uesto é colui, che mi può lar felice!
    Q uesto é proprio un cazzo da Imperatrice
    Q uesta gemma vai più cli’un pozzo d’oro!
    Ora aspetterò con impazienza il proseguimento della sua vita movimentata, perché questa prima parte è stata molto interessante. Saludos Luisa.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ciao Luisa, Ciao. I’d heard of l’Arétin, but I know nothing about him… I will do some research along with your posts…
    Tutto bene con te?
    (Apparently WP had “unfollowed” you Tsss.
    Bon week-end.
    B.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Aretino died such an astonishing death, falling off a chair while laughing. Was he sitting upstairs that he died instantly or just so soon after “confessing”. Glad he was regarded highly by those who saw his artistic skills. 💝

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “The atmosphere was cheerful, and salacious stories were being told. When one of the guests began to tell a particularly obscene story involving the writer’s sisters and the Arezzo brothel they were employed at, he started to laugh so hard that he fell back from his chair and hit his head.”

    That was a rather lewd society he lived in, with himself having a lewd nature. So, in my opinion, it was just time that he died.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You are welcome, dear Luisa. Although most people might not see it this way, I thought I might as well chip in my two cents worth. “Seinen Senf dazu geben”, they say in German. “Add your ketchup”.

        Liked by 2 people

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