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Putting Up a Pose: The Prince's Magnificent Palace in Fifteenth-Century Italy

Thu, March 22, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Hilton Riverside, 1st Level - Grand Salon Breakout 13

Abstract

Recent scholarship has focused strongly on the revival of magnificence as an Aristotelian virtue in fifteenth-century Italy. Yet, other traditions, which regarded magnificence as a characteristic of the object, rather than a virtue of the patron, existed as well. Mirrors of princes highlighted the political potential of the wonder, provoked by these magnificent buildings seen. It leads beholders to submit to political rule. Through a close study of Pontano’s De Regimine Principe (1471) and Cortesi’s De Cardinalatu Libri Tres (1510), this paper argues that a new conception of the political leader during the second half of the fifteenth century influenced ideas on the magnificence of the prince’s palace. While mirros of princes still considered it important for a prince to be virtuous, it became more essential that he was seen as such. Similarly, authors sought the effect of magnificence in the façade, rather than in the building as a whole.

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