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BOCCACCIO


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BOCCACCIO


erine" and "Virgin and Child in a Landscape", and in the church of San Giuhano, in the same city, is his "Virgin and Child with tour Saints". Tlie Louvre possesses a "Holy Family"; tlie London National Gallery a "Procession to Calvary", for- merly in a Cremona church; and the Ferrara Pina- coteca a "Death of the Virgin". Light grey eyes outlined \vith a dark rim are characteristic of the pictures of Boccaccino.

BoccACCiNO, Camillo, a short-lived but brilliant painter, b. at Cremona, 1511; d. 1546. He was the son and pupil of Boccaccio Boccaccino, whom he surpassed, taking care, it is pointed out, to avoid the errors into which his father's self-esteem had led liim. He early showed both originality and strength, and his work has been considered to approach that of Correggio, notably his "Four Evangelists" in the niches of the cupola of San Sigismondo near Cre- mona, which are thoroughly in the Correggio style and were painted when the artist was only twenty- six. Camillo Boccaccino is thought by Lanzi to be the greatest artist of the Cremonese school. Two of his works at Cremona are "The Raising of Laz- arus " and the " Adulteress before Christ ", surrounded by friezes showing many angels.

Champlin and Perkins, Cyclopedia of Painters and Paint- ing (New York, 1886-88); Bryan, Dictionary of Painters and Engravers (London and New York, 1903-05).

Augustus van Cleef.

Boccaccio, Giovanni, Italian novelist, b. in Paris, 1.31.3; d. in Certaldo, 21 December, 1375. His father, a merchant from Certaldo and a man of some prominence in Florence, had gone into business in Paris. Shortly afterwards the elder Boccaccio de- serted Giannina, the mother of Giovanni, and brought the boy to Florence, where he put him to school until he was ten years old, when he took him into business. In 1327 Giovanni was sent to Naples to study law. But he gave himself up almost en- tirely to literature, and became intimately ac- quainted with some of the most prominent men and women of the court of Anjou. It is supposed that it was in 1334 that he saw for the first time Maria d'Aquino, a married woman and natural daughter of King Robert. She was the inspiration of his earher works, and the heroine of whom he tells under the name of Fiammetta. In 1340 we find him back in Florence; on the death of his father in 1348, he became the guardian of a younger brother. He held certain public offices in Florence and was en- trusted with diplomatic missions to Padua, the Romagna, Avignon, and elsewhere. After 1350 began his friendship with Petrarch, which lasted until the latter's death in 1374. In spite of his advanced age and the political dissensions in Florence which afflicted him sorely, he began, in 1373, his course of lectures in that city on the poems of Dante. He died two years later at his ancestral home in Certaldo.

The earliest, longest, and perhaps the weakest of Boccaccio's works is the "Filocolo", written be- tween 1338 and 1340; it is a version of the story, widespread in the Middle Ages, of Floire and Blanche- fleur, and contains a curious admixture of pagan myths and Christian legends. The "Ameto", writ- ten in the two following years, is an allegorical novel, telling, among other love-adventures, the sad story of the life of Boccaccio's mother. The "Amorosa Visione", in praise of love, dates from about the year 1342, and consists of fifty cantos in terzine, and the initial letters of the verses form an acrostic of two sonnets and one ballata. The "Teseide", probably of the year 1341, is the first artistic work in ottava rima. It contains many imitations of antiquity, and was widely read up to the sixteenth century. Tasso thought so highly of it that he annotated it. The suDJect is the story of Palemon


and Arcite which Chaucer used for his " Knight's Tale".

The " Filostrato ", written in the same year and likewise in ottava rima, tells of the love of Troilus for Chryseis. The subject may have been suggested to Boccaccio by his adventure with Fiammetta. The "Ninfale Fiesolano", a short poem in ottava rima, is the best, in style and invention, of the minor works of Boccaccio. The "Fiammetta" is one of the best written of his works, the most original and the most personal. Panfilo, the hero and lover of Fiammetta, is supposed to represent Boccaccio himself. The "Corbaccio" (1354) has had its ad- mirers, but it is one of the most bitter and indecent satires ever written against woman. The " Vita di Dante" (about 1364), based chiefly on information furnished by contemporaries of Dante, remains one of the best fives of the poet. The " Commento sopra la Commedia", the fruit of his pubfic lectures on Dante, was planned to be a colossal work, but Boccaccio had commented only upon the first seventeen cantos when it was broken off by his death.

Boccaccio shares with Petrarch the honor of being the earliest humanist. In their time there were not a dozen men in Italy who could read the works of the Greek authors in the original. Boccaccio had to support at his house for three years a teacher of Greek, with whom he read the poems of Homer. Of Boccaccio's Latin works the following are to be mentioned: "De genealogiis deorum gentilium" (be- tween 1350 and 1360), but published first in 1373. This dictionary of classical mythology shows re- markably wide reading and a very good understand- ing of the works of the ancients and, in spite of errors which it could not but contain, it continued for several hundred years to be an authority for the student of classical antiquity. Two biographical works: "De claris mulieribus" and "De casibus virorum ifiustrium" (between 1357 and 1363) are of little interest, since they tell of men and women of ancient times and but rarely of the author's con- temporaries. There remain the Latin letters and eclogues, which are not of much worth, and eight or ten unimportant works which have been ascribed to Boccaccio.

The book with which Boccaccio's name is in- separably finked is the "Decameron", which was finished in 1353, but part of which had probably been written before the "I51ack Death" reached its height in 1348. The "Decameron" opens with a masterly description of the terrors of the pest, and we are then introduced to a gay company of seven ladies and three young men wlio have come together at a villa outside Naples to while away the time and to escape the epidemic. Each in turn presides for a day over the company and on each of the ten days each of the company tells a story, so that at the end one hundred stories have been told. It is difficult to say whether such a company as Boccaccio describes ever met. At all events, he says that he has taken pains to conceal the real names of the persons men- tioned in the stories. There are reasons to believe, however, that Fiammetta is the same lady to whom Boccaccio has given that name in otlier works, while Dioneo may well represent Boccaccio himself.

The great charm of the "Decameron" lies in the wonderful richness and variety of the adventures which he relates, in the many types of character and the close analysis of all shades of feeling and passion, from the basest to the noblest. The style is now Ciceronian, now that of the everyday speech of Florence. The sentence-structure is, to De sure, often involved and inverted, and it often requires several readings to enjoy a full understanding of the phrase. Boccaccio found the germs of his novelle in other hteratures, in historic events, and in tradi-