A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists/Algarotti, Count Francesco


Algarotti, Count Francesco, Italian writer. B. Dec. 11, 1712. Ed. Rome and Bologna Universities. At Paris, in 1732, Algarotti met, and became a friend of, Voltaire, and joined the Deistic school. He wrote a manual of Newtonian physics for women (Il Newtonianismo per le dame, 1733) and a number of greatly esteemed volumes on art, philosophy, poetry, physics, and history. Frederick the Great attracted him to his court of learning and made him Count and Chamberlain (1747). Augustus III of Saxony appointed him Councillor of War. His writings (10 vols., 1778-84) very freely express his Deism; and Cardinal Ganganelli (afterwards Pope Clement XIV), who greatly admired him, tried in vain to convert him. "You are," the Cardinal wrote, " one of those rare men whom one would fain love even beyond the grave" (Von Reumont's Ganganelli, 1847, Br. lxxii). There is a good recent biography of Algarotti by E. Northcott (F. Algarotti, 1917). Frederick the Great erected a monument to him at Pisa. D. May 3, 1764.