Alex Cittadella – Science and literature in seventeenth-century Venice: the Antonini brothers and the Accademia degli Sventati in Udine



Event Date: 17 – 18 September 2011
British Library Conference Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB

The Italian Academies 1525–1700 Project presents:


This major international conference is being hosted as part of the AHRC funded research project The Italian Academies 1525-1700: the first intellectual networks of early modern Europe.

Academies represent a vital and characteristic dimension of early modern culture.
There were ca. 600 Academies in Italy in the period 1525-1700. Frequently international in membership, and in correspondence with scholars across Europe, they were fundamental to the development of the intellectual networks later defined as the ‘République des Lettres’, and to the dissemination of ideas in early modern Europe. Their membership included pioneering scientists, writers, artists, political thinkers, and representatives of both sexes and all social classes. The interests of the Academies ranged from the humanities, to the figurative and performance arts, natural sciences and medicine; many were interdisciplinary in their outlook and activities.

However, the social and cultural phenomenon of the Italian Academies has hitherto attracted relatively little research due in part to the wide range of their interests and difficulties in accessing relevant information.

The conference aims to explore research questions raised by the activities of Academies in this period.

Alex CittadellaScience and literature in seventeenth-century Venice: the Antonini brothers and the Accademia degli Sventati in Udine

In the Republic of Venice the beginning of the Sixteenth century is characterized by a great cultural, literary and scientific vivacity. In 1606 (13th August) the friulan count Alfonso Antonini, in cooperation with other scholars, founded the Academy of the Sventati, one of the most interesting literary circle of the Venetian Republic, which operated along the Seventeenth century.

Interestingly, Daniele Antonini, the brother of Alfonso, in the same years established a deep relationship of friendship and collaboration with the scientist Galileo Galilei, starting one of the most interesting events of the scientific world of the Venetian Republic, in which was also involved his brother Alfonso.

The city of Udine and the Patria of Friuli, became, through the work of the two brothers, the seat of one of the academies of the Republic of Venice and the hub for the dissemination of new scientific research and experimental activity, especially in astronomy. The foundation and the activities of the Academy are the symbol of a deep cultural change. The academic discourses, the texts of prose and poetry, the official activities of the members are strictly related with the scientific research carried out by the same academicians outside the academic institution.



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