Cristoforo Landino

Cristoforo Landino

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Cristoforo Landino was an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 and an important figure of the Florentine Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

.

Biography


A member of a noble family from the Casentino, Landino was born in Florence in 1424. He studied law and Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 (under George of Trebizond
George of Trebizond
George of Trebizond was a Greek philosopher and scholar, one of the pioneers of the Renaissance.-Life:He was born on the island of Crete, and derived his surname Trapezuntius from the fact that his ancestors were from Trebizond.At what period he came to Italy is not certain; according to some...

). Against his father's will he turned away from a career in the law and decided to study philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 instead, a decision he would not have been able to make but for the patronage of Piero di Cosimo de' Medici
Piero di Cosimo de' Medici
Piero di Cosimo de' Medici , , was the de facto ruler of Florence from 1464 to 1469, during the Italian Renaissance. He was the father of Lorenzo the Magnificent and Giuliano de' Medici-Biography:Piero was born in Florence, the son of Cosimo de' Medici the Elder and Contessina de' Bardi...

. Landino's wife Lucrezia was a member of the Alberti
Alberti
-Places:* Alberti Partido, a partido of Buenos Aires Province, Argentina* Alberti, Buenos Aires, the main town of the partido-Other:*Alberti bass, a musical accompaniment figuration, usually in the left hand on a keyboard instrument...

 family.

In 1458 Landino replaced Cristoforo Marsuppini as the chair of rhetoric and poetry at the Florentine Studio. His students, seeking a more renowned teacher, initially opposed Landino's appointment, but he nevertheless remained and became an important part of the cultural and intellectual life of Florence.

Landino was a member of the Platonic Academy
Platonic Academy (Florence)
The Platonic Academy was a 15th century discussion group in Florence. It was founded after Gemistus Pletho reintroduced Plato's thoughts to Western Europe during the 1438 - 1439 Council of Florence. It was sponsored by Cosimo de' Medici and led by Marsilio Ficino...

 founded by Marsilio Ficino
Marsilio Ficino
Marsilio Ficino was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance, an astrologer, a reviver of Neoplatonism who was in touch with every major academic thinker and writer of his day, and the first translator of Plato's complete extant works into Latin...

 in Florence. He was the tutor of Lorenzo de' Medici
Lorenzo de' Medici
Lorenzo de' Medici was an Italian statesman and de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance. Known as Lorenzo the Magnificent by contemporary Florentines, he was a diplomat, politician and patron of scholars, artists and poets...

 and his brother Giuliano
Giuliano di Piero de' Medici
Giuliano de' Medici was the second son of Piero de' Medici and Lucrezia Tornabuoni. As co-ruler of Florence, with his brother Lorenzo the Magnificent, he complemented his brother's image as the "patron of the arts" with his own image as the handsome, sporting, "golden boy."-Death:As the opening...

. Landino also held public office, first as chancellor of the Guelf party (1467) and later as scriptor of public letters for the Signoria
Signoria
A Signoria was an abstract noun meaning 'government; governing authority; de facto sovereignty; lordship in many of the Italian city states during the medieval and renaissance periods....

.

Landino died in 1498 in a villa in Borgo alla Collina, which he received as a gift from the Medici.

Works


Landino was a prolific writer. He championed the use of vernacular Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

.

He wrote three works framed as philosophical dialogues: De anima (1453), De vera nobilitate (1469), and the Disputationes Camaldulenses (c. 1474). In the Disputationes several humanists compare the merits of the active and the contemplative life.

As the lady "Xandra" Landino published three volumes of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 poems. They were dedicated in 1458 to Piero de' Medici. He also prepared many letters and orations, which were published long after his death in Italian in Venice (1561).

Of special importance to the Renaissance, Landino prepared commentaries on the Aeneid
Aeneid
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...

(1478) and The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy is an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature...

(1481). To promote the use of vernacular Italian, Landino held lectures on Petrarch
Petrarch
Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

 and translated and published Pliny's
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 Historia naturalis (1476) and Giovanni Simonetta's Latin life of Francesco Sforza (1490).

Editions

  • Chatfield, Mary P. (trans.). Cristoforo Landino: Poems (Cambridge, Mass.; London,: Harvard University Press, 2008) (The I Tatti Renaissance library, 35).