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The routes of humanism

by Giulia Venturini

“On the one hand I would like no one, after listening to me and asking for explanations, to be disappointed. I would like, having amended the numerous erroneous or mutilated places and unveiled the obscure ones, the reader whom else could wish “. 


Francesco Maturanzio (1443-1518) was an important manuscript from Perugia, a humanist at the service of the arts and the city, a university professor, municipal secretary, ambassador and municipal historian. The origin of his surname was born in Perugia: his grandfather, Matteo di Giovanni, practices the art of tanning woolen cloths, an activity then also practiced by Marco, father of Francesco. Hence the origin of the surname Matarazzo, later transformed by Francesco in Maturanzio to ennoble the family.
Francesco Maturanzio dedicates his life to study: in Greece, the cradle of classicism, he deepens the language. Returned to his homeland in 1474, his state of mind was affected by the serious political struggle that affected Perugia in those years: moral and social disorder, often bloody struggles, between among the noble families of the Baglioni and the degli Oddi, tore the enthusiasm and ideals patriotic that animate the thought of the humanist. He decides to leave his city for Vicenza, he will return only in 1497, recalled to Perugia by the beloved humanist Amico Graziani, to whom he owed the commission to the Perugino of the frescoes of the Collegio del Cambio.



The most authentic opera is the Collegio del Cambio. The cycle is presented as a unitary, but very complex organism. Francesco Maturanzio took into consideration many erudite works for his own inspiration: De Astronomia by Igino for the sky; in his library there is in fact a print of the work of 1482. For the reproduction of the four Cardinal Virtues and heroes, the iconographic source from which Maturanzio took inspiration is De Inventione by Cicerone; a print is also present in its library. Finally, under the vault of the Moon, represented Catone.
This character recalls Francesco Maturanzio: both accept the loneliness of exile in order to maintain their ideal of freedom against tyranny and against all political hatreds.


The exhibition

The Library Augusta 500 years after his death, celebrates Francesco with an exhibition: Francesco Maturanzio. The routes of Humanism, until 26 January 2019, curated by Francesca Grauso, Alberto Maria Sartore and Paolo Renzi, in which he relives his prestigious collection of books, kept right inside the library, as well as documents, mostly unpublished, coming from the collections of the State Archives of Perugia and from the cities in which Maturanzio taught. Some volumes arrive in Augusta thanks to the original legacy of Prospero Podiani, others are transferred to the library in 1798, thanks to the librarian Luigi Canali; in this way the library has been able to preserve most of the books that belonged to Maturanzio. Inside the exhibition it is possible to admire a miniated manuscript of the Bertoliana Library of Vicenza, a register of the Vicenza State Archive, an autograph collection of orations from the Historical Archive of the University of Perugia; during the exhibition, you can also see an images of the frescoes of the Collegio del Cambio and of the fresco of the Baglioni palace on Colle Landone. Also on show is the reconstruction of the genealogical tree of the Maturanzio family, reconstructed by Alberto Maria Sartore.It presents the first edition in the original language of the entire corpus of Aristotle, published in five volumes by Aldo Manuzio. A document identified by Alberto Maria Sartore proves to be of fundamental importance for the reconstruction of his library: in October 1529, at the death of Aurelio Apollinare, Francesco’s son, the will expressed in his father’s will to donate his library was made executive to the Benedictine monastery of San Pietro.The exhibition has obtained the Logo of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.


Francesco Maturanzio. Le rotte dell’Umanesimo

26 ottobre – 26 gennaio 2019

Sala espositiva della Biblioteca Augusta


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