Between History and Praise: Approaches on Understanding Humanist Biographies

  • Anja-Silvia Goeing
Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 33)


Having considered all four vitae separately, a comparative synopsis is now in order. The question is why the four biographers – Sassolo da Prato, Francesco da Castiglione, Bartolomeo Sacchi named Platina, and Francesco Prendilacqua – took it upon themselves to write a vita of their teacher, Vittorino da Feltre. The answer can be given at various levels of justification, each of which is based on different traditions or can be explained by different customs. The text-extrinsic level of reality provides initial information about the external reasons that a given author might have for writing his manuscript, including the possibility of performing a service through the production of the text. From today’s perspective, this alone might be motivation enough for its composition. Among the texts under consideration here, we find Sassolo’s “promotional” interests and especially Francesco Prendilacqua’s attempt at procuring a position with the duke of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro, as examples of this level of justification.


Visual Artist Fifteenth Century External Reason School Reading Early Modern Time 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anja-Silvia Goeing
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Arts, Design and Social SciencesNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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