The Italian humanist, poet, and historian Pietro Bembo (1470-1547) was the most influential man of letters during the High Renaissance in Italy.
Pietro Bembo was born in Venice. His learned father, Bernardo, was prominent in civic and diplomatic affairs, and Pietro benefited from residence and education in Florence, Venice, Padua, and Messina. In Florence he knew Lorenzo il Magnifico, the most famous of the Medici ruler-patrons. Bembo soon gained remarkable prestige in literary matters because of his vast classical culture and his ability to write fine Tuscan prose and poetry. He also served as secretary to popes Leo X, Hadrian VI, and Clement VII.
In 1530 his native city appointed Bembo historian of the Republic of Venice and head of the famous library which was later called the Marciana. Pursuing an ecclesiastical career and fearing to lose lucrative benefices, he refrained from marrying and thus failed to legitimize his three sons, born of a Roman woman. In 1539 Pope Paul III made him a cardinal, and until his death in 1547 Bembo was considered a likely candidate for the papacy.
Subsequent generations of critics have considered Bembo's literary talents to be rather modest, yet his influence during his lifetime was immense. An accomplished Latinist, he nevertheless encouraged literary use of the vernacular, which he insisted should be Tuscan rather than any other dialect, and his Gli Asolani (1505) was the first prose work written in Tuscan by a non-Tuscan author. This work influenced many subsequent authors of love treatises by the predominantly literary way in which it dealt with philosophical questions about love. Many of Bembo's concepts were based on Marsilio Ficino's Commentary (1469) on Plato's Symposium, and Bembo continued Ficino's tendency to Christianize Plato's theory of love.
Ostensibly, Asolani teaches its readers "not to err, " since "not to love" is impossible. In the first of the three dialogues the character Perottino expounds the untoward results of love. In the second dialogue Gismondo exalts love indiscriminately. In the final dialogue Lavinello states that to love well one must follow reason, not the senses. Petrarchan canzoni (odes) adorn the dialogues.
The Prose della volgar lingua (1525; Prose in the Vernacular), in which Bembo again employed the dialogue form, is perhaps the earliest Italian grammar. It is a pivotal document in the centuries-long polemic about the Italian language (the questione della lingua), in that it strongly affirms the Florentine character of the national language. Bembo's history of Venice from 1487 to 1513 was published posthumously in 1553.
Ernest Hatch Wilkins, A History of Italian Literature (1954), contains material on Bembo. See also Francesco de Sanctis, History of Italian Literature (2 vols., 1870; new ed. 1914; trans. 1931), and Richard Garnett, A History of Italian Literature (1898). □
"Pietro Bembo." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pietro-bembo
"Pietro Bembo." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved March 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pietro-bembo
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.
Pietro Bembo (pyā´trō bĕm´bō), 1470–1547, Italian humanist, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. A favorite of the Medici, he was secretary to Pope Leo X and was made a cardinal by Paul III. Bembo was for many years the arbiter of Italian letters, insisting that classical traditions be preserved. He was responsible for editions of Petrarch and Dante and helped establish the language of Tuscany as the standard literary Italian. He wrote the History of Venice (1551); a disquisition on platonic love, Gli Asolani (1505, tr. 1954), inspired by Plato's Symposium; a book of lyric verse (Rime, 1530) in Latin and Italian; and Prose della volgar lingua [prose in the vernacular] (1525).
"Bembo, Pietro." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bembo-pietro
"Bembo, Pietro." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved March 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bembo-pietro