Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Orlando Furioso
  • Ludovico Ariosto
    born: Reggio Emilia, Italy ; died: Ferrara, Italy ; active: Italy
  • Orlando Furioso, 1544
  • Where object was made: Venice, Italy
  • book
  • Not on display
  • EL2012.032
  • Loan: Not in the Spencer's collection
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Giorgio Vasari and Court Culture in Late Renaissance Italy," Sep-2012, Sally Cornelison and Susan Earle
Ariosto’s epic poem about the adventures of Charlemagne’s knights, first published in 1516, was a best-seller of late Renaissance literature. Ariosto used the material of earlier poets, but improved upon their style and content much in the same way that Vasari did with earlier historians of the arts. Through the content and presentation of the Orlando furioso (Orlando Enraged) Ariosto sought to glorify the dukes of Ferrara, members of the Este family, as Vasari did the princely court of Medicean Florence. With Ariosto, the possibility of living up to the courtly ideals described by Baldassare Castiglione in his Book of the Courtier was tenuous at best. The image shown here depicts the perfect, most beloved knight, Orlando, at the moment of his fall from grace when he learns that the woman he loves has married an enemy soldier. Vasari particularly praised this edition of the poem thanks to these woodcuts added by the printer Giolito.