Matteo Maria Boiardo (1441-1494) was an Italian poet, who lived at Este’s court in Ferrara at the end of the XV century; his unfinished masterpiece Orlando Innamorato is an epic poem and tells the story of the famous paladin Orlando, who falls in love with the beautiful Chinese princess Angelica. In this poem, the author, by blending many different classical and Medieval literary sources (mostly Arthurian and Carolingian cycles), waves a ‘wonderful’ setting for his aristocratic audience, who enjoys his work: history, legends and myths are mixed together to build a virtually never-ending plot, always subjected to luck whims and to magic. In one episode of the poem, the main character Orlando enters an underground cave, enchanted by Morgana, where he makes an astonishing discovery: gold-made automata studded with precious stones, are attending to their king’s banquet in a huge room and they are acting like a real court. The scene is completed by an automaton-archer defending the king’s treasure. Even though Boiardo’s goal is to impress and entertain his audience and to give a moral message against greed, he describes so accurately the automata behaviour that it is possible to model it with modern analysis tools. It is interesting to remark that, although we can find Medieval literary sources for this episode, strictly connected with the theme of magic, Leonardo da Vinci’s Atlantic codex and other notebooks of his date back to more or less the same years; in these works there are detailed drawings for a mechanical knight, perfectly dressed in armor, capable to perform different movements similar to human ones. This paper will analyze Boiardo’s text and its possibile historical or literary sources and present an abstract model of the described automata. Then, in order to draw a more general picture of early Renaissance mechanics, mainly automata technology, a comparison between Boiardo’s and da Vinci’s work is proposed.
|Titolo:||Magic and Technology in early Italian Renaissance: Automata in Boiardo’s "Orlando Innamorato"|
AMBROSETTI, NADIA (Primo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||31-lug-2009|
|Parole Chiave:||automata ; Boiardo ; Leonardo da Vinci ; poem ; magic ; Hero of Alexandria ; Ferrara ; Este ; court ; Renaissance ;|
|Enti collegati al convegno:||International Union of History and Philosophy of Science/Division of History of Science and Technology|
|Citazione:||Magic and Technology in early Italian Renaissance: Automata in Boiardo’s "Orlando Innamorato" / N. Ambrosetti. ((Intervento presentato al 23. convegno International Congress of History of Science and Technology tenutosi a Budapest nel 2009.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||14 - Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|