Classicism and Enlightenment
The Accademia dell’Arcadia (Arcadians), founded in Rome in 1690, reacted to the excesses of Mannerist imagery in G. Marino and his successors. She wanted to go back to a simple language and free Italian poetry from past “barbarism”. However, the approach and implementation were too simple to be able to have a renewing effect. With “Della ragion poetica” (1708) Gian Vincenzo Gravina (* 1664, † 1718) wrote her poetics, G. M. Crescimbeni wrote the first Italian literary history (1698). The turn brought about by the Arcadia led to anacreontic poetry, the former representative of which was C. I. Frugoni. G. Parini continued in the second half of the 18th century with his perfectly shaped poetry, which is time-critical in the sense of the Enlightenment, adds new accents; His main work is the poem “Il giorno” (in four parts, published 1763–1801), composed in more than 3,700 rhyming eleven silvers.; “It is served by everyone and is of no use”). For more articles about Italy and Europe, please follow Ehealthfacts.
Significant impulses for the European theater came from Italy in the second half of the 18th century: C. Goldoni reformed the Commedia dell’Arte by literary and psychological refinement of the impromptu comedies of the traveling troops, while largely retaining the original arsenal of characters, which has now been implemented in a less typical way. This transformation can be shown inter alia. on his best-known piece in the German-speaking world, “Il servitore di due padroni” (1745, revised version 1753; German “The servant of two masters”), which admittedly includes the types of the Arlecchino, the Smeraldina and the Pantalone as well as the contrasting naturally occurring ones »Giovani amanti« (the young lover) takes up, but makes it less mask-like and more modern; The comedy, too, is no longer so crude, but of a more subtle kind. In C. Goldonis According to the social tendencies of the Enlightenment, the hardworking and righteous citizens are better represented than the decadently portrayed nobles (for example in “La bottega del caffè”, 1750; German “Das Kaffeehaus”); In addition, the role of women can be ascertained, which – measured against the gender norms of the time – certainly has emancipatory traits (to be observed, among other things, in the figure of Mirandolina in “La locandiera”, 1753; German “The hostess”). C. Goldoni’s theater reform was opposed by his literary conservative contemporary, C. Gozzi who stuck to essential elements of the traditional Commedia dell’Arte, but enriched them with fairy tale motifs, often taken from oriental sources. This resulted in pieces combining exoticism with fantasy, such as “L’amore delle tre melarance” (1761; German “Die Liebe zu den Drei Orangen”) and “Turandot” (1762), which were highly valued by the German romantics (including AW Schlegel) and have also been processed into operas several times (for example by G. Puccini ). V. Alfieri is rightly considered the most important tragedy poet in Italian theater history; in a classicist style he mainly dealt with antique materials (including “Antigone”, “Oreste”, both completed as versions in 1781; “Merope”, 1782; “Mirra”, 1786), but also subjects from the Bible (“Saul”, 1782) and from modern European history, with a recognizable preference for the subject of freedom, ideologically shaped by the state theories of the Enlightenment (Montesquieu). In addition to Pietro Chiari (* 1712, † 1785), P. Metastasio deserves a mention among the playwrights, who from 1729 as court poet of Charles VI. worked in Vienna and helped the genre of melodrama to make its breakthrough (including “Didone abbandonata”, 1723; “Catone in Utica”, 1728; “La clemenza di Tito”, 1734). Although many of Metastasio’s works were set to music by important composers, they could certainly stand alone as dramatic texts, which distinguishes them from the opera librettos of L. Da Pontes , who worked at the Viennese court in the 1880s and above all collaborated with Mozart (“Le nozze di Figaro”, “Don Giovanni”, “Così fan tutte”).
The ideas of the Italian Enlightenment were particularly developed in philosophical, science and literary-critical writings: G. B. Vico’s theory of history sketched a picture of the relative effectiveness of history, which influenced large areas of literature and science in the subsequent period in Germany and France and with that »paradigm shift «Which favored the development of European romanticism. Numerous magazines such as the “Gazzetta veneta” (1760/61), the “Osservatore veneto” (1761/62), the “Frusta letteraria” (1763–65) and “Il Caffè” (1764–66) spread the ideas of the Enlightenment, which found outstanding representatives in Italy: the brothers P. and A. Verri, the legal reformer C. Beccaria (»Dei delitti e delle pene«, 1764; German »Of crimes and punishments«), the economically interested Abbé Ferdinando Galiani (* 1728, † 1787). An intellectual and literary awakening took place in this century, the prelude to the political Risorgimento movement of the following century.