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Classical Iconography in the Early Celebrations of the Festival of Pasquino* Oliviero Carafa, elected Cardinal in 1467, is recognised as the official sponsor of the annual Roman celebration which centred on a mutilated piece of statuary, known as Pasquino. Carafa's intimate connection with the celebration is elucidated in thefirstprinted edition of pasquinades, published in R o m e by Mazzocchi in 1509. The erection of the statue by Carafa, however, dates to 1501, the same year in which a diary entry of Johannes Burckard refers to the fixing of a "schedula" (leaf of paper) to the statue, containing three verses of satirical comment on the Borgia Pope, Alexander VI. Carafa's predilection for antique statuary was more than matched by the display of magnificentia in his endowment of many churches and public buildings in both R o m e and Naples, which involved commissions for architects and painters, including Bramante and Filippino Lippi. Carafa was a recognised patron and his familia numbered several famous humanists; a much larger circle of humanists dedicated works to him. In addition to a high clerical profile, one is able to infer from a number of contemporary accounts and from the details of his patronage his considerable status as a man of learning, a status most properly defined as that of humanist By piecing together the retrievable mosaic of his intellectual and clerical career, we are drawn to recognise in Carafa the embodiment of humanist ideals, centring on the revival of antiquity (with particular reference to Rome) and on an intellectual revival. Carafa's influence in humanist circles may have dated from the time of the academy of Pomponius Laetus; without a doubt he was a cogent force in Roman cultural circles from the 1480s until his death in 15ll.1 Carafa's status and influence are embodied in concrete form in the mutilated piece of statuary known to us by the name of Pasquino. This piece was the visual symbol of the pasquinades which from 1509 (and even earlier?) adorned the statue in an annual celebration of poetic inventiveness. Further, it was a symbol of metamorphosis since as the centrepiece of the celebration the statue was provided with different allegorical guises each year. Thus we are confronted with a symbol of creativity that may be understood only within a wide-ranging context *With many thanks for their assistance in the preparation of this article to Frances Muecke and John Martyn. *For a more detailed treatment of Carafa, Roman humanism and the early history of the Pasquino celebration, see Anne Reynolds, The Private and Public Emblems of Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance 45, 1982, 273-284; eadem, Cardinal Oliviero Carafa and the Early Cinquecento Tradition of the Feast of Pasquino, Humanistica Lovaniensia 34A, 1985, 178-208; eadem. The Classical Continuum in Roman Humanism: the Festival of Pasquino, the Robigalia, and Satire, Bibliotheque d'Humanisme et Renaissance 49, 1987, 289307 . 118 A. Reynolds The extant pasquinades provide a convenient starting-point for analysis. The earliest-known printed record of pasquinades belongs to the year 1509; however the poems published are not completely representative, in that the collection comprises "only what the notary had time to transcribe".2 There has been considerable speculation on the origin of the statue, and even more heated debate over the origin of the name itself.3 The preface to the 1509 edition recounts the recent history of the statue in the following terms: There is a statue of Hercules which was indeed once famous at the corner of the house of the Neapolitan Cardinal [i.e. Carafa]. Certain people are of the opinion that the trunk was useless as it was without legs, arms or nose. It lay discarded and covered by earth for several years in a place not many feet distant from the place in which it is now erected at the Cardinal's expense. Near to it lived a grammarian or magister ludi by the name of Pasquino or Pasquillo, whence the statue later earned its name.4 According to earlier accounts, the statue was known by the name Pasquinus or Pasquillus by the late fifteenth century. It also appears from Burckard's diary...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 117-126
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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