Lecture series

Eugenio Refini:
Two Hours per Day: Reading Aristotle's Ethics in Quattrocento Florence

Part of the Lecture Series Alberti Revisited: Art – Ethics – Politics
Organized by Hana Gründler, Katharine Stahlbuhk, and Giulia Baldelli

According to Leon Battista Alberti's portrayal of Agnolo Pandolfini, the Florentine merchant spent two hours a day reading Aristotle. While the account may be fictional, Alberti's staging of Pandolfini's philosophical attitude illustrates what was at play more broadly in the cultural and intellectual dynamics that informed fifteenth-century Florence. This lecture will explore some of these dynamics, particularly those pertaining to the ways in which    ›proactive‹ readers such as Pandolfini contributed to the appropriation of Aristotle's Ethics by the vernacular elite. 

Eugenio Refini (PhD, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), is an Associate Professor of Italian Studies at New York University. Prior to joining NYU, he was a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Warwick and he taught at Johns Hopkins University. His work focuses on reception, translation, early modern drama and the intersections of music and literature. His recent publications include the monograph The Vernacular Aristotle: Translation as Reception in Medieval and Renaissance Italy (Cambridge UP, 2020) and articles on Renaissance Quarterly, The Italianist, Romance Quarterly. With Jessica Goethals, he has co-edited a special issue of The Italianist on »Genre-Bending in Early Modern Performative Cultures«. Refini’s next monograph, Staging the Soul: Allegorical Drama as Spiritual Practice in Baroque Italy, is forthcoming with Legenda (2022). He has received fellowships from Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti, the Bodleian Library, the Warburg Institute, and the NEH Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome.


This talk is part of the lecture series »Alberti Revisited: Art – Ethics – Politics« organized by Hana Gründler, Katharine Stahlbuhk, and Giulia Baldelli

Against the backdrop of the 550th anniversary of Leon Battista Alberti's death and the publication of the first German edition of and commentary on his dialogue Della tranquillità dell'animo in April 2022 the lecture series Alberti Revisited will focus on the artistic, ethico-aesthetic, linguistic and socio-political implications of his oeuvre. Thus, the intertextual and interdisciplinary complexity of Alberti's thought as well as his relationship with the cultural dynamics of his time will be examined from a variety of perspectives and, not least, Alberti's topicality will be critically analysed. The invited speakers come from the fields of art and architectural history, history, philology, and philosophy.

25 May 2022, 6:00pm

This event will take place in a hybrid format.

Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51
50122 Firenze, Italia

To participate in person please email ellena.stelzer@khi.fi.it to reserve a seat.

To participate online please register in advance via Zoom:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMucOigpjMjHNUGux4T6QFqwMGQBl9enJPy

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


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