Matteo Bandello

Matteo Bandello

Overview

Matteo Bandello was born at Castelnuovo Scrivia
Castelnuovo Scrivia
Castelnuovo Scrivia is a comune in the Province of Alessandria in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 90 km east of Turin and about 20 km northeast of Alessandria.-History:...

, near Tortona
Tortona
Tortona is a comune of Piemonte, in the Province of Alessandria, Italy. Tortona is sited on the right bank of the Scrivia between the plain of Marengo and the foothills of the Ligurian Apennines.-History:...

 (current Piedmont
Piedmont
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys situated in the Provinces of...

), c. 1480 or 1485. He received a good education, and entered the church, but does not seem to have been very interested in theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

. For many years he lived at Mantua
Mantua
Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family, made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole...

, and superintended the education of the celebrated Lucrezia Gonzaga
Lucrezia Gonzaga
Lucrezia Gonzaga di Gazzuolo was an Italian noblewoman known for her literary talents, and her association with Matteo Bandello. Bandello taught her mathematics, astronomy, rhetoric and logic, and wrote poetry in her honour...

, in whose honour he composed a long poem. The decisive Battle of Pavia
Battle of Pavia
The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–26.A Spanish-Imperial army under the nominal command of Charles de Lannoy attacked the French army under the personal command of Francis I of France in the great hunting preserve...

, as a result of which Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

 was taken by the emperor, compelled Bandello to flee; his house at Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 was burnt and his property confiscated.
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Biography


Matteo Bandello was born at Castelnuovo Scrivia
Castelnuovo Scrivia
Castelnuovo Scrivia is a comune in the Province of Alessandria in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 90 km east of Turin and about 20 km northeast of Alessandria.-History:...

, near Tortona
Tortona
Tortona is a comune of Piemonte, in the Province of Alessandria, Italy. Tortona is sited on the right bank of the Scrivia between the plain of Marengo and the foothills of the Ligurian Apennines.-History:...

 (current Piedmont
Piedmont
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys situated in the Provinces of...

), c. 1480 or 1485. He received a good education, and entered the church, but does not seem to have been very interested in theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

. For many years he lived at Mantua
Mantua
Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family, made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole...

, and superintended the education of the celebrated Lucrezia Gonzaga
Lucrezia Gonzaga
Lucrezia Gonzaga di Gazzuolo was an Italian noblewoman known for her literary talents, and her association with Matteo Bandello. Bandello taught her mathematics, astronomy, rhetoric and logic, and wrote poetry in her honour...

, in whose honour he composed a long poem. The decisive Battle of Pavia
Battle of Pavia
The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–26.A Spanish-Imperial army under the nominal command of Charles de Lannoy attacked the French army under the personal command of Francis I of France in the great hunting preserve...

, as a result of which Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

 was taken by the emperor, compelled Bandello to flee; his house at Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 was burnt and his property confiscated. He took refuge with Cesare Fregoso, an Italian general in the French service, whom he accompanied into France.

He was later raised to the bishopric of Agen, a town in which he resided for many years before his death in 1562. Bandello wrote a number of poems, but his fame rests entirely upon his extensive collection of Novelle, or tales (1554, 1573), which have been extremely popular. They belong to the same genre as Boccaccio
Giovanni Boccaccio
Giovanni Boccaccio was an Italian author and poet, a friend, student, and correspondent of Petrarch, an important Renaissance humanist and the author of a number of notable works including the Decameron, On Famous Women, and his poetry in the Italian vernacular...

’s Decameron and Marguerite de Navarre
Marguerite de Navarre
Marguerite de Navarre , also known as Marguerite of Angoulême and Margaret of Navarre, was the queen consort of Henry II of Navarre...

’s Heptameron
Heptameron
The Heptameron is a collection of 72 short stories written in French by Marguerite of Navarre, published in 1558. It has the form of a frame narrative and was inspired by The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio...

. The common origin of them all is to be found in the old French fabliaux, though some well-known tales are evidently Eastern, and others classical. Bandello’s novellas are thought the best of those written in imitation of the Decameron, though Italian critics find fault with them for negligence and inelegance of style. The stories on which William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 based several of his plays (Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written early in the career of playwright William Shakespeare about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular archetypal stories of young, teenage lovers.Romeo and Juliet belongs to a...

and Twelfth Night in particular) were supplied by Bandello, probably through Belleforest
François de Belleforest
François de Belleforest was a prolific French author, poet and translator of the Renaissance. He was born in a poor family and his father was killed when he was seven...

 and Pierre Boaistuau
Pierre Boaistuau
Pierre Boaistuau, also known as Pierre Launay or Sieur de Launay was a French humanist. 'Boaistuau' is the manner of spelling followed by the majority of secondary works in which he has been mentioned...

 whose stories were later translated into English by William Paynter
William Painter
William Painter was an English author and translator.William Painter was a native of Kent. He matriculated at St John's College, Cambridge, in 1554. In 1561 he became clerk of the ordnance in the Tower of London, a position in which he appears to have amassed a fortune out of the public funds...

.

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