Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/113

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ACADEMIES
ACADEMIES
85

forts the association began to decline, insomuch that after the above-mentioned publication of the works of Hernandez in 1651, the "Accademia dei Lincei" fell into oblivion. Its fame, however, had not perished, and when at the beginning of his pontificate Pius IX sought to provide an academic centre for physico-mathematical studies, he resuscitated Cesi's society, and on 3 July, 1847, founded the "Pontificia Accademia dei Nuovi Lincei", inaugurating it personally in the following November, and endowing it with an annual income from the pontifical treasury. Its members were divided into four classes, honorary, ordinary, corresponding, and associate; the last were young men who, on the completion of their studies, showed special aptitude for physico-mathematical sciences. The Academy was directed by a president, a secretary, an assistant secretary, a librarian-archivist, and an astronomer. Its headquarters were in the Campidoglio. Its "Proceedings" from 1847 to 1870 fill twenty-three volumes. In 1870 some of the members withdrew from the Academy, which insisted on retaining its papal character. Desirous at the same time of a traditional connection with the past, they reassumed the original name, and thus arose the "Regia Accademia dei Lincei". It was approved and subsidized by the Italian government in 1875, and began its career with an enlarged programme of studies, divided into two classes, the first of which includes physical, mathematical, and natural sciences, and the second, those of a moral, historical, and philological character. It publishes annually its "Proceedings", and is located in the Corsini Palace, whose library, at the disposal of the Academy, is very rich in manuscripts, printed works, and periodicals. It numbers today about one hundred members, besides correspondents and many foreigners. Its members have published important works on the exact sciences, also in the province of philology. Among the latter are the Oriental texts and dissertations of Professor Ignazio Guidi, many of which are of great value for the ecclesiastical sciences. Since 1870 the "Pontificia Accademia dei Nuovi Lincei" has continued its labours and the publication of its annual "Proceedings" bearing upon the physico-mathematical sciences. It has quarters in the palace of the Cancelleria Apostolica, and has a cardinal-patron. On the original "Accademia dei Lincei" see the work of its historian, Giano Planco (Giovanni Bianchi di Rimini), published in the second edition of the above-described work of Fabio Colonna (Il Fitobasano, Florence, 1744). The "Statuto" or constitution of the "Lincei" was published in Latin at Rome in 1624. For other information on the two academies, pontifical and royal, see their "Proceedings".

Pontificia Accademia degli Arcadi (1690).—The origins of this famous literary academy were not different from those of similar societies of the same period. A number of literary dilettanti, accustomed to those occasional meetings in villas and gardens that were so pronounced a feature of social life during the eighteenth century, conceived the idea of a better organization of their literary entertainments. In this manner arose the academy to which, in accordance with contemporary taste, they gave the poetical name of "Arcadia". The members called themselves "shepherds", and assumed classical names. All this has been narrated more or less sarcastically by various critics and encyclopaedias, with undisguised contempt for such "pastoral follies". In their easy contempt, however, they fail to explain how such trivial beginnings and puerile aims succeeded in giving to the "Arcadia" its great vigour and repute, even though merely relative. The true reason of its fame lies in the fact that in addition to the usual "pastoral" literature, then and thereafter the peculiar occupation of so many academies, the "Arcadia" carried out an artistic and literary programme of its own, that was then, speaking generally, both opportune and important. It was the era of triumph of that bombastic, meaningless, and paradoxical style known as the "seicentismo" from the century (1600–1700) in which it flourished, and that bore in England the name of "euphuism". In Italy, this "seicentesco" style had ruined literature and art. It was the time when Achillini wrote a sonnet to say that the cannon of Charles V used the world for a ball, and begged fire to sweat in order properly to fuse the various metals needed for the artillery of Cæsar. This detestable taste, which tended to lower not only letters and arts, but also the dignity and gravity of society, found in the "Arcadia" an organized opposition. There is no doubt that in general the "Arcadia" and "Arcadianism" often fell into the contrary extreme and, in opposition to an artificial literature, conceited and bombastic, produced another literature whose simplicity was equally artificial, and for the laboured conceits of sonnets a bomba, such as the aforementioned one of Achillini, substituted only too many in which swains and sheep bleated in unison their far-fetched idylls. In spite of these extremes the attitude of the "Arcadia" was beneficial. It called for a return to the simplicity of nature. So imperative was this recall to nature that in various ways it made itself heard elsewhere in Europe. It is well known that precisely at this time in France, the art of Greuze and of Watteau, and the "pastoral" literature, heralded at once and stimulated that cult of simplicity and nature (in itself an art product) which sprang up in letters and art, and even in the court, at the time of Rousseau and Marie Antoinette. This is why the "Arcadia" endured and acquired such high repute that it counted among its members the principal literary men of the time, e.g. Menzini, Sergardi, Redi, Metastasio, Rolli, Filicaia, Guidi, Maggi, and others, some of whose names are still honoured in the history of Italian literature.

The beginnings of the "Arcadia" date back to February, 1656, when it arose under the auspices of the celebrated Queen Christina of Sweden, but it did not take on its definite form and official name until after the death of its patroness (1689). The "Arcadia" chose as its emblem the pipe of Pan with its seven unequal reeds. The fourteen founders selected as first "Custode di Arcadia", or president of the Academy, the somewhat mediocre writer, but enthusiastic votary of letters, Giovanni Mario Crescimbeni (Alfesibeo Cario), b. in Macerata, 1663, d. at Rome, 1728, author of a history of Italian poetry and of various literary works. The first solemn gathering of the "Arcadi" was held on the Gianicolo, in a wood belonging to the Reformed Minorites (Franciscans), 5 October, 1690. In 1692, the meetings were transferred to the Esquiline in the gardens of Duke Orsini; in 1696, to the Farnese gardens on the Palatine. Finally, the generosity of John V, King of Portugal, one of its members, under the name of Arete Melleo, enabled the society to secure (1773) on the Gianicolo a site known as the "Bosco Parrasio". Here they held their meetings on fine summer days, meeting for their winter séances at the "Teatro degli Arcadi", in the Salviati Palace. While the "Arcadia" was yet on the Palatine, its "Statuto" (constitution) was drawn up. Owing to an exaggerated admiration of antiquity, ever the organic defect of this academy, this constitution (the work of Gravina) was modelled on the ancient Roman laws of the "Twelve Tables", and was engraved on marble. Unfortunately, differences soon arose between Gravina and the president, Crescimbeni, one of those petty enmities injurious to the society. Nevertheless, "Arcadia" retained its vig-