Lorenzaccio

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Alphonse Mucha poster for Lorenzaccio starring Sarah Bernhardt (1896) Alfons Mucha - 1896 - Lorenzaccio.jpg
Alphonse Mucha poster for Lorenzaccio starring Sarah Bernhardt (1896)

Lorenzaccio is a French play of the Romantic period written by Alfred de Musset in 1834, set in 16th-century Florence, and depicting Lorenzino de' Medici, who killed Florence's tyrant, Alessandro de' Medici, his cousin. [1] Having engaged in debaucheries to gain the Duke's confidence, he loses the trust of Florence's citizens, thus earning the insulting surname "Lorenzaccio". Though he kills Alessandro, he knows he will never return to his former state. Since opponents to the tyrant's regime fail to use Alessandro's death as a way to overthrow the dukedom and establish a republic, Lorenzo's action does not appear to aid the people's welfare.

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Written soon after the July revolution of 1830, at the start of the July Monarchy, when King Louis Philippe I overthrew King Charles X of France, the play contains many cynical comments on the lack of true republican sentiments in the face of violent overthrow.

The play was inspired by George Sand's Une conspiration en 1537 , in turn inspired by Varchi's chronicles. As much of Romantic tragedy, including plays by Victor Hugo, it was influenced by William Shakespeare's Hamlet .

Summary

Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence, aided by Lorenzo de' Medici, takes away a girl under her brother's nose. He wishes to complain to the duke, but it is the duke who is taking her away. In Lorenzaccio's palace, his uncle Bindo Altoviti and Venturi, a gentleman, wish to know from Lorenzaccio whether he will join their conspiracy against the duke. But when the duke, as suggested by his cousin, offers them a promotion and privileges, despite their republican talk, they immediately accept. Alessandro serves as model for a portrait, when Lorenzaccio takes his coat of mail and throws it in a well. One of the duke's men, Salviati, covered in blood, appears, saying that Pietro Strozzi and his brother, Tomaso, attacked him. The duke orders their arrest, so that the Strozzi family are up in arms to free them. Lorenzaccio plans to seduce Catherine. Meanwhile, Pietri and Tomaso are freed and learn of their sister's death by poison at the hands of Salviati's servant. The cardinal of Cibo scolds his sister-in-law for not being able to hold her lover for more than three days. Unheeding his appeal to return to him, she reveals to her husband her adultery with the duke. The night he proposes to kill his cousin, Lorenzaccio warns noblemen to prepare for revolt, but none of them believe he'll do it. The cardinal warns the duke of Lorenzaccio, but he dismisses his warnings and follows his cousin to his bedroom, where Lorenzaccio kills him. Cosimo de' Medici is elected as the new duke. With the duke dead, the Strozzi conspiracy does not achieve anything, nor are republican sentiments heard of, except for some massacred students. Lorenzaccio is assassinated and the cardinal gives the ducal crown to Cosimo de' Medici on behalf of Pope Paul III and Emperor Charles V.

Performances

The play was published in the spirit of a closet drama — intended to be read rather than staged, because of its complexity, length, numerous characters and changes in scenery — so that no production of the play took place during Musset's lifetime.

However, it has been staged since, first by Sarah Bernhardt as a star vehicle for herself in 1896, [2] [3] and later with Gérard Philippe in the title role in the 1950s in Paris, a production which reached Broadway in the French version presented by the Théâtre national populaire and directed by Jean Vilar in 1958 for 7 performances. [4]

The Stratford Festival in Canada staged a production in 1972 that initially toured to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and then ran for 24 performances during the Festival's summer season. [5] [6]

The play was performed in 1983 at the National Theatre, London, in a translation by John Fowles, with Greg Hicks in the title role. In 1977, under the title The Lorenzaccio Story, a version of the play by Paul Thompson, was performed at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, with Peter McEnery in the leading role.

A modern re-adaptation of Lorenzaccio, titled Up For Grabs America, was also performed in 2017, at the Medicine Show Theatre, New York. The play was re-written and directed by Rayyan Dabbous and it is described as a "political satire staged in the year of Donald Trump's election." Its main character is named Lorenzo, who is the White House's "Chief of Staff." [7]

Related Research Articles

Lorenzo de Medici Italian statesman, banker, and de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic (1449-1492)

Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici was an Italian statesman, banker, de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic and the most powerful and enthusiastic patron of Renaissance culture in Italy. Also known as Lorenzo the Magnificent by contemporary Florentines, he was a magnate, diplomat, politician and patron of scholars, artists, and poets. As a patron, he is best known for his sponsorship of artists such as Botticelli and Michelangelo. He held the balance of power within the Italic League, an alliance of states that stabilized political conditions on the Italian peninsula for decades, and his life coincided with the mature phase of the Italian Renaissance and the Golden Age of Florence. On the foreign policy front, Lorenzo manifested a clear plan to stem the territorial ambitions of Pope Sixtus IV, in the name of the balance of the Italian League of 1454. For these reasons, Lorenzo was the subject of the Pazzi conspiracy (1478), in which his brother Giuliano was assassinated. The Peace of Lodi of 1454 that he supported among the various Italian states collapsed with his death. He is buried in the Medici Chapel in Florence.

House of Medici Italian banking family and political dynasty

The House of Medici was an Italian banking family and political dynasty that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici, in the Republic of Florence during the first half of the 15th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of Tuscany, and prospered gradually until it was able to fund the Medici Bank. This bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century, and it facilitated the Medicis' rise to political power in Florence, although they officially remained citizens rather than monarchs until the 16th century.

Cosimo I de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany Duke of Florence

Cosimo I de' Medici was the second Duke of Florence from 1537 until 1569, when he became the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, a title he held until his death.

Republic of Florence City-state on the Apennine Peninsula between 1115 and 1569

The Republic of Florence, officially the Florentine Republic, was a medieval and early modern state that was centered on the Italian city of Florence in Tuscany. The republic originated in 1115, when the Florentine people rebelled against the Margraviate of Tuscany upon the death of Matilda of Tuscany, who controlled vast territories that included Florence. The Florentines formed a commune in her successors' place. The republic was ruled by a council known as the Signoria of Florence. The signoria was chosen by the gonfaloniere, who was elected every two months by Florentine guild members.

Alessandro de Medici, Duke of Florence 16th-century Duke of Florence

Alessandro de' Medici, nicknamed "il Moro" due to his dark complexion, Duke of Penne and the first Duke of the Florentine Republic, was ruler of Florence from 1530 to his death in 1537. The first Medici to rule Florence as a hereditary monarch, Alessandro was also the last Medici from the senior line of the family to lead the city. His assassination at the hands of distant cousin Lorenzaccio caused the title of Duke to pass to Cosimo I de Medici, from the family's junior branch.

Pazzi conspiracy Fifteenth-century plot in the Republic of Florence

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Duke of the Florentine Republic

The Duca della Repubblica Fiorentina, rendered in English as Duke of the Florentine Republic or Duke of the Republic of Florence, was a title created in 1532 by Pope Clement VII for the Medici family, which ruled the Republic of Florence. There were effectively only two dukes of the Republic of Florence, Alessandro de' Medici and Cosimo de' Medici, the second duke being elevated to Grand Duke of Tuscany, causing the Florentine title to become subordinate to the greater Tuscan title.

Strozzi family

Strozzi is the name of an ancient Florentine family, who like their great rivals the Medici family, began in banking before moving into politics. Until its exile from Florence in 1434, the Strozzi family was by far the richest in the city, and was rivaled only by the Medici family, who ultimately took control of the government and ruined the Strozzi both financially and politically. This political and financial competition was the origin of the Strozzi-Medici rivalry. Later, while the Medici ruled Florence, the Strozzi family ruled Siena, which Florence attacked, causing great animosity between the two families. Soon afterward, the Strozzi married into the Medici family, essentially giving the Medici superiority.

Duchy of Florence

The Duchy of Florence was an Italian principality that was centred on the city of Florence, in Tuscany, Italy. The duchy was founded after Emperor Charles V restored Medici rule to Florence in 1530. Pope Clement VII, himself a Medici, appointed his relative Alessandro de' Medici as Duke of the Florentine Republic, thereby transforming the Republic of Florence into a hereditary monarchy.

Lorenzino de Medici

Lorenzino de' Medici, also known as Lorenzaccio, was an Italian politician, writer, and dramatist, and a member of the Medici family. He became famous for assassinating his cousin, Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence in 1537. He was in turn murdered in 1548 in retaliation for his deed.

Lucrezia de Medici, Duchess of Ferrara Duchess consort of Ferrara

Lucrezia de' Medici, was a member of the House of Medici and by marriage Duchess consort of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio during 1558–1561.

Bernardo Salviati

Bernardo Salviati was an Italian condottiero and Roman Catholic Cardinal.

Clarice Orsini Wife of Lorenzo de Medici

Clarice Orsini (1453–1488) was the daughter of Iacopo Orsini, and his wife and cousin Maddalena Orsini both from the Orsini family, a great Roman noble house and was the wife of Lorenzo de' Medici.

Maria Salviati

Maria Salviati was an Italian noblewoman, the daughter of Lucrezia di Lorenzo de' Medici and Jacopo Salviati. She married Giovanni delle Bande Nere and was the mother of Cosimo I de Medici. Her husband died 30 November 1526, leaving her a widow at the age of 27. Salviati never remarried; after her husband's death she adopted the somber garb of a novice, which is how she is remembered today as numerous late portraits show her attired in black and white.

Lucrezia de Medici (1470–1553) Italian noblewoman and member of the Medici family

Lucrezia Maria Romola de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman, the eldest daughter of Lorenzo de' Medici and Clarice Orsini and mother of Maria Salviati and Giovanni Salviati. Her portrait was considered as the baby Jesus in Our Lady of the Magnificat of Sandro Botticelli.

Jacopo Salviati Politician (1461-1533)

Jacopo Salviati was an Italian politician and son-in-law of Lorenzo de' Medici. He was married to the Lorenzo's daughter the prestigious Lucrezia de' Medici, on 10 September 1486, and they would have 10 children together. The son of Giovanni Salviati and Maddalena Gondi, he devoted himself to the economic affairs of the family, becoming very wealthy. He then engaged in political life. He was Prior of the Guilds in 1499 and 1518, then gonfalonier of Justice in 1514. In 1513, he was appointed ambassador to Rome.

Bindo Altoviti

Bindo Altoviti (1491–1557) of the Altoviti family was an Italian banker and one of the most influential papal bankers of his generation. A patron of the arts, he cultivated close friendships with artists such as Benvenuto Cellini, Raphael, Michelangelo and Giorgio Vasari.

<i>Lorenzaccio</i> (film) 1951 Italian film

Lorenzaccio is a 1951 Italian historical drama film directed by Raffaello Pacini and starring Giorgio Albertazzi, Folco Lulli and Anna Maria Ferrero. It is an adaptation of the 1834 play Lorenzaccio by Alfred de Musset about the life of Lorenzino de' Medici.

<i>Portrait of Cosimo the Elder</i> Painting by Pontormo

Portrait of Cosimo the Elder is an oil on panel painting by Pontormo, executed c. 1519-1520, now in the Uffizi, Florence.

Altoviti

The Altoviti are a prominent noble family of Florence, Italy.

References

  1. https://archive.org/details/completewritings04mussiala English text of Lorenzaccio
  2. Sarah Bernhardt: The Art Within the Legend
  3. Aston, Elaine. Sarah Bernhardt: a French actress on the English stage p. 116
  4. Lorenzaccio at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. J. Alan B. Somerset. 1991. The Stratford Festival Story, 1st edition. Greenwood Press. ISBN   978-0-313-27804-4
  6. "Lorenzaccio (1972) production credits". Stratford Festival Archives. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  7. "Up for Grabs America". 12 November 2018.