SEE ALSO The Borgias Home Page I Renaissance Literature and Poetry I 15th Century Italy I The Discussion Forum
Matteo Maria Boiardo was an Italian Renaissance poet.
Boiardo was born in the environs of Scandiano (in modern Reggio Emilia) about 1440. He was the son of Giovanni di Feltrino and Lucia Strozzi of noble lineage, ranking as Count of Scandiano, with governing power over Arceto, Casalgrande, Gesso, and Torricella. Boiardo was an ideal example of a gifted and accomplished courtier, having a stout, courageous, and brave manner as well as deep humanistic erudition and knowledge of the classics.
Up to the year of his marriage to Taddea Gonzaga, the daughter of the Count of Novellara (1472), he had received many marks of favour from Borso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, having been sent to meet Emperor Frederick III (1469), and afterwards visitingPope Paul II (1471) in the train of Borso. In 1473 he joined the retinue which escorted Eleonora of Aragon, the daughter of Ferdinand I, to meet her spouse, Ercole, Duke of Ferrara. Five years later Boiardo was given the governorship of Reggio, an office which he filled with noted success till his death, except for a short time(1481-86) when he was governor of Modena.
Early on, Boiardo had been a follower and imitator of Petrarch's love poems. More serious attempts followed with the Istoria Imperiale, some adaptations of Nepos, Apuleius, Herodotus, Xenophon, etc., and his Eclogues. These were followed by a comedy, Il Timone. He is best remembered, however, for his grandiose poem of chivalry and romance Orlando Innamorato. Rime, another work from 1499, was largely forgotten until the English-Italian librarian Antonio Panizzi published it in 1835.
Excerpt from Orlando Innamorato - The Adventures of Angelica:
"La qual dormiva in atto tanto adorno,
Che pensar non si può, non ch'io lo scriva
Parea che l'erba a lei fiorisse intorno,
E d'amor ragionasse quella riva."
Her posture, as she lay, was exquisite
Above all words—nay, thought itself above:
The grass seemed flowering round her in delight,
And the soft river murmuring of love.
Matteo Maria Boiardo
Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
Matteo Maria Boiardo
Count of Scandiano, Lord of Reggio
Born c. 1440/1
Died December 20, 1494
Italian Renaissance poet famous
for his tale of Chivalry set in the time
of Charlemagne, "Orlando Innamorato" (Orlando in Love).
Orlando Innamorato is an epic tale mirroring the old Carolingian and Arthurian legends.
It tells of the persuit of beautiful Angelica by love-smitten Orlando and the other enamoured knights, then describes the defence of Albracca by Angelica's father, the King of Cathay, against the beleaguering Tartars, and, finally, with the Moors' siege of Paris and their struggle with Charlemagne's army.
Orlando's exploits were continued in the Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto in 1516.
It is a romantic fantasy told inOttava rima stanza rhythm in 68 1/2 cantos.
1530s Illustration, Orlando Innamorato