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  • Prof. B.V. Toshev
    RENAISANCE STUDIES. JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY FOR RENAISSANCE STUDIES ISSN 0269-1213 (Wiley-Blackwell) [Cover image for Vol. 26 Issue 1] Editor: J. Richards
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 8, 2013


      Cover image for Vol. 26 Issue 1

      Editor: J. Richards


      ToC: Renaissance Studies, Volume 27, Number 1, February 2013


      J. DeeEclipsed: An overshadowed goddess and the discarded image of Botticelli's Primavera (p. 4)

      Notes: 90

      This article explores the implications of a neglected aspect of that letter to the owner of the Primavera in which Marsilio Ficino pictures the human soul as mirroring the cosmos. The lunar metaphor adopted for the ratio mobilis, middle term of the soul, is found to be an integral feature of his ontology, developed primarily in relation to Aristotelian cosmology. As template for the metaphor, the division of perceptible reality into supralunary and sublunary contrasting halves can be seen to govern the imagery of the Primavera, the contrasting halves of which are centred on a figure with a lunar amulet and inescapable overall resemblance to a lunar deity described in a recently printed and highly popular classical work. Botticelli's painting embodies a metaphysical image of the cosmos reflected in the soul, as outlined in the letter, with the planetary deity Luna as the middle term of both, mediating between the celestial and terrestrial realms of the one and – as ratio– the intellectual and sensual realms of the other. The genre of the Primavera has been obscured. It is a great Quattrocento imago mundi.

      S. TrevisanMildmay Fane's masque Raguaillo d'Oceano (1640): royalism, Puritanism and sea voyages (p. 34)

      Notes: 71

      Raguaillo d'Oceano is a masque composed in 1640 by Mildmay Fane, second Earl of Westmorland, for the entertainment of his own household and friends at his Northamptonshire mansion. It presents in allegorical terms a voyage of discovery: all the peoples from the four continents ask King Oceanus leave to conquer the still-unexplored, fifth corner of the globe, Terra Australis Incognita. Their flashy garments adorned with Latin inscriptions warn against a spiritual and historical disgrace and greed ruling over humankind in spite of geographical boundaries. Raguaillo d'Oceano reveals the official and personal views, on the topical issue of sea voyages, of a Royalist and Puritan land-owning aristocrat with a passion for the sea. The masque voices Fane's criticism of contemporary England's encouragement of state-funded maritime voyages, both from a political and moral point of view, an opinion which is however reconciled with the author's interest in things maritime, from geography to contemporary expeditions, and from navigation to constellations. This essay presents a case-study on the unexpectedly complex cultural history of Raguaillo d'Oceano, as a key to unlock an aristocrat's views on England's increasing attention to its developing overseas commerce and plans for maritime conquest in the 1630s and 1640s.

      P. Baker-BatesBeyond Rome: Sebastiano Del Piombo as a painter of diplomatic gifts (p. 51)

      Notes: 87

      The question of diplomatic gifts has become increasingly center stage in studies of Renaissance art. Their importance has not, however, been considered before in relation to the career of Sebastiano del Piombo at Rome. From the very beginning of his time in the city, however, Sebastiano began to paint works of art that were intended as diplomatic gifts. The two major works examined in this light will be the Visitation commissioned, most likely, by the Venetian government for Queen Claude of France and the Pietà commissioned by Ferrante Gonzaga for Francesco de Los Cobos. The argument will show both how central such commissions became to Sebastiano's career and how they may have affected the development of that career.

      J. Spinks. Print and polemic in sixteenth-century France: the Histoires prodigieuses, confessional identity, and the Wars of Religion (p. 73)

      Notes: 98

      The second half of the sixteenth century saw the rise of the wonder book as a distinct genre shaped by religious conflict. These often richly illustrated compendia presented extraordinary events intended to inspire both fear and wonder. In France, wonder books appeared primarily during the Wars of Religion (1562–98). The most important was Pierre Boaistuau's 1560 Histoires prodigieuses, which appeared in revised editions incorporating new texts by Claude Tesserant, François de Belleforest, Arnauld Sorbin, Rod. Hoyer, and the unidentified `I. D. M.' through until 1598. This article surveys the complex publication history of the Histoires prodigieuses and its changing presentation of prodigious disasters and wonders like famines, floods, plagues, monstrous births and earthquakes, and examines some of the textual and visual means by which the Histoires prodigieuses reflected the violent disorder of the Wars of Religion. It focuses particularly on the shift from a publication first written by Protestant Pierre Boaistuau, and then updated and revised by Catholic authors including François de Belleforest and Arnauld Sorbin, in order to examine new aspects of polemical print culture in sixteenth-century France.

      M. WilsonWatching flesh: poison and the fantasy of temporal control in Renaissance England (p. 97)

      Notes: 46

      During the Renaissance, English writers often depict poison as a weapon capable of transforming a victim's body into a timepiece, with death predictable to the year, month, day, and hour. English literary works, especially dramatic ones, however, contain numerous instances of poisons that fail to act precisely, or to act as intended. These failures serve as a useful departure point for exploring Renaissance ideas of clock-time. The dream of temporal control represented by poison promises an alignment between timepieces and bodies. When poisons fail to create this promised synchronicity, they reveal both the interdependence of bodies and horological devices and the difficulties in regulating either one.

      E. Herdman. `Amethystus Princeps Sobrietatis': signing a sixteenth-century pledge (p. 114)

      Notes: 68

      Against the backdrop of Montaigne's philosophical and ethical discussion of drunkenness, ecstasy and excess in `De l'yvrongnerie', this article introduces the literary society founded in the 1570s by Johann Posthius and Paul Melissus in reaction to the licentiousness they perceived in Germany's long-established drinking culture. Through analysis of the anthology of neo-Latin verse that they consequently compiled, the Collegii Posthimelissaei Votum, their humanist society may be seen to have been founded out of a combination of religious, patriotic and vocational concerns. The significance of the Collegium's symbol, the amethyst, is examined in the light of the religious background to the vow – a background which is then balanced against the equal influences upon the Collegium of the satirical tradition surrounding Germany's drinking culture, and of the two founders' respective professions: medicine and poetry. Yet the anthology reveals that the Collegium was also motivated by more private concerns: the promotion of sober poetry both as a metaphorically purer form of wine and as a metonym for the friendship between sober poets that in itself resembles a form of ecstasy found in Montaigne.

      Review of Exhibition (p. 133): 1 review

      Notes: 15

      Book Review Essay (p. 141): 1 review

      Book Reviews (p. 146): 5 reviews (Shakesqueer: A Queer Companion to the Complete Works of Shakespeare; Ireland in the Renaissance: c. 1540–1660; The History of the Book in the West: 1455–1700; Sabbioneta Cryptic City; The Ephemeral History of Perfume: Scent and Sense in Early Modern England).

      Reviewed by B.V. Toshev, 8 February 2013

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