College of Arts and Sciences

Renaissance Studies


Works-in-Progress Workshop
Friday, September 23rd, 1:30-2:30
Ballantine Hall 144

I am pleased to announce the second meeting of our “Works-in-Progress Workshop”, a forum where members of the Renaissance Studies group can share and discuss their current research in a friendly and informal atmosphere.

Massimo Ossi (Associate Professor of Music, Department of Musicology) will discuss his paper titled “Venus in the House of Mars: Martial Imagery in Monteverdi’s “Madrigali Guerrieri et Amorosi” (1638).”

This essay, a chapter from a book dedicated entirely to Monteverdi’s “Guerrieri et Amorosi,” his eighth book of madrigals, considers the collection, dedicated to the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand III upon his ascension to the throne, in light of the Thirty Years’ War. In particular, the Eighth Book takes as its central theme the kinship between Love and War, highlighting the conflicts the two bring, the valor of warriors in real and imaginary armies (Imperial and Amorous), and the sufferings that result from their conflicts. The essay begins with a consideration of Monteverdi’s relationship with the Viennese court and of the evidence of his own political allegiances as a former employee of the Gonzaga court in Mantua. It then considers the imagery of war as presented in engravings and paintings, mostly the works of Rubens, and the newly re-contextualized figure of the military hero. Finally, it returns to the contents of Monteverdi’s book, tracing the transformation of the Emperor’s figure from the opening encomiastic madrigal, delivered by an authoritative male voice, through the various “chapters” (groups of madrigals) that follow, to the closing image, articulated not by the male narrator but by Venus, of the Imperial house led by a “lover-warrior,” as bringing the gifts of civilization—music, architecture, poetry, etc.—to its dominions.

The pre-circulated paper will be made available upon request.

I hope to see you there!

Massimo Scalabrini
Director of Renaissance Studies