Saturday, April 15, 2017

Laura Battiferra – a Poetess for the Great Siege

Giovanni Bonello wrote a series of three articles for the Times of Malta (2012) on the poetess Laura Battiferra in relation to the Great Siege of Malta (1565).

Laura Battiferra by Agnolo Bronzino c.1560
"Laura Battiferra – Laura who? She had sunk into almost total oblivion, even though she was the wife of one of the most distinguished artists of the High Renaissance: Bartolomeo Ammannati. If one wanted to be generous, she had become an inconspicuous footnote in the history of Italian literature. The cultural explosion of feminism in more recent years has reversed the trend of gender neglect and again pushed Battiferra to the forefront."

Bonnello notes that: " Women do not generally celebrate war in poetry – only silly men do that – but then they do sometimes sing the praises and the virtues of male warriors and champions, the handsome supermen of their unacknowledged dreams, objects of unabashed hero worship or more."

Of her final days, Bonnello writes: "Battiferra spent most of the last stretch of her life in a chapel specially built for her by her husband in a rented villa in Camerata, close to the gates of Florence. Ammannati could afford that and much else besides, after a long and highly successful career as a sculptor and an architect. She passed away in November (probably the 1st), 1589, and was buried in the Ammannati chapel in the Florentine church of San Giovannino whose façade had been designed by her gifted husband."

Times of Malta: 
Laura Battiferra – a poetess for the Great Siege (July 29, 2012)
Laura Battiferra’s four poems on the Great Siege of Malta (August 5, 2012)
Poetess sings praises of Great Siege heroes August 12, 2012

About Laura Battiferra:

Books on / featuring Laura Battiferra:
  • Italian Women Writers: A Bio-bibliographical Sourcebook edited by Rinaldina Russell
  • Laura Battiferra and Her Literary Circle: An Anthology: A Bilingual Edition By Laura Battiferra degli Ammannati
  • Encyclopedia of Women in the Renaissance: Italy, France, and England edited by Diana Maury Robin, Anne R. Larsen, Carole Levin
  • Women Poets of the Italian Renaissance: Courtly Ladies and Courtesans by Laura Anna Stortoni, Mary Prentice Lillie

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