Baldassare Castiglione

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Baldassare Castiglione, portrait of Raphael

Baldassare Castiglione (born December 6, 1478 in Casatico near Mantua , † February 7, 1529 in Toledo , Spain) was Count of Novilara , courtier , diplomat and writer .

Baldassare Castiglione was the son of a noble family and received a comprehensive education from the humanists Giorgio Merula and Demetrios Chalkondyles (1424–1511) and at the court of Ludovico Sforzas in Milan. He was in the service of important rulers such as the Marquis of Mantua , Francesco Gonzaga , or the Duke of Urbino , Guidobaldo da Montefeltro . Castiglione was sent to the papal court in Rome in 1513 as ambassador for the new Duke of Urbino, Francesco Maria I della Rovere . He was friends with Raffael , who portrayed him as a sensitive courtier in a famous portrait from 1516; the painting hangs in the Louvre today . Castiglione worked with Raphael on a memorandum on the preservation of Roman antiquity. Four years before his death he went to Spain as apostolic nuncio , where he died.

Castiglione was married to Hippolyta Taurella (1501-1520). In this marriage, entered into in 1516, two children were born: a son, Camillo, and a daughter, Anna. The correspondence between the two spouses, which has been preserved for posterity, testifies to the strong love that bound Castiglione and Hippolyta.

Castiglione thought women were perfect creatures, with the same intellectual abilities as men. In the times of the Renaissance, when women were regarded as inferior, even as "half a child" and "great animal" (Martin Luther), this was not a generally valid position. "If these accidental properties are of a spiritual nature, then I reply that everything that men can understand can also be understood by women and that wherever the understanding of one penetrates, that of the other can penetrate." In addition, Castiglione was not tired of mentioning that women also waged wars and achieved "glorious victories", that women "ruled states with great wisdom and justice and did everything that was done for the cause of men ..."

Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier , "the book by Hofmann," first printed in 1528 and also briefly Cortegiano called, is considered (along with Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso and Niccolo Machiavelli's Il Principe ) as one of the most significant works of Italian literature of the Renaissance .


Cortegiano , 1549
  • Baldesar Castiglione: The Hofmann's book. Translated, introduced and explained by Fritz Baumgart (Dieterich Collection 78). Schünemann, Bremen 1960.
  • Baldassare Castiglione: The Hofmann. Way of life in the Renaissance. Translated from the Italian by Albert Wesselski. Georg Müller, Munich / Leipzig 1907 (2 volumes). - Reprint: With a foreword by Andreas Beyer . Wagenbach, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-8031-2357-7 .


  • Claudio Mutini:  Castiglione, Baldassare. In: Alberto M. Ghisalberti (Ed.): Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI). Volume 22:  Castelvetro – Cavallotti. Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Rome 1979.
  • Jacob Burckhardt : The culture of the Renaissance in Italy. One try. 12th edition, Kröner, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-520-05312-1 .
  • Peter Burke : The fate of the Hofmann. On the effect of a Renaissance breviary on appropriate behavior. Translated from the English by Ebba D. Drolshagen. Wagenbach, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-8031-3587-7 .
  • Walther Ludwig : Castiglione, his wife Hippolyta and Ovid. In: Paul Gerhard Schmidt (ed.): The woman in the Renaissance (= Wolfenbütteler Abhandlungen zur Renaissanceforschung. Volume 14). Wiesbaden 1994, pp. 99-156. Reprinted in: Walther Ludwig: Miscella Neolatina. Selected articles 1989–2003. Edited by Astrid Steiner-Weber. 3 Vols. Vol. 2. Olms, Hildesheim 2004, ISBN 3-487-12535-8 , pp. 72-133.
  • Edoardo Costadura: The nobleman at the desk. On the self-image of aristocratic writers between the Renaissance and the Revolution. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2006, ISBN 978-3-484-55046-9 .
  • Jörn Steigerwald: The Hofmann's self-problematization in Baldassarra Castiglione and Torquato Accetto. In: R. Behrens, Maria Moog-Grünewald (Ed.): Moralistics. Explorations and Experiments. Munich 2010, pp. 119–150.

Web links

Wikisource: Baldassare Castiglione  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Baldassarre Castiglione  - collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. also Baldes (s) ar and German Balthasar .
  2. Ludwig 2004, p. 72, note 2 (the correspondence at a glance), and pp. 130-133 (three letters from Hippolyta to Castiglione from the year 1520, edited and translated).
  3. Women's mirror of the Renaissance. Book 3: Count Baldassare Castiglione. Hegner, Leipzig undated [1903], p. 46f.
  4. Women's mirror of the Renaissance. Book 3: Count Baldassare Castiglione. Hegner, Leipzig undated [1903], p. 48.