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GIUSEPPE CESARI

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 767 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GIUSEPPE CESARI, called Il Cavaliere d' Arpino (born in or about 1568 and created a " Cavaliere di Cristo " by Pope Clement VIII.), also named Il Giuseppino, an Italian painter, much encouraged at Rome and munificently rewarded. His father had been a native of Arpino, but Giuseppe himself was born in Rome. Cesari is stigmatized by Lanzi as not less the corrupter of taste in painting than Marino was in poetry; indeed, another of the nicknames of Cesari is " Il Marino de' Pittori " (the pictorial Marino). There was spirit in Cesari's heads of men and horses, and his frescoes in the Capitol (story of Romulus and Remus, &c.), which occupied him at intervals during forty years, are well coloured; but he drew the human form ill. His perspective is faulty, his extremities monotonous, and his chiaroscuro defective. He died in 1640, at the age of seventy-two, or perhaps of eighty, at Rome. Cesari ranks as the head of the " Idealists " of his period, as opposed to the " Naturalists," of whom Michelangelo da Caravaggio was the leading champion, —the so-called " idealism " consisting more in reckless facility, and disregard of the common facts and common-sense of nature, than in anything to which so lofty a name could be properly accorded. He was a man of touchy and irascible character, and rose from penury to the height of opulence. His brother Bernardino assisted in many of his works. ' CESAROTTI, MELCHIORE (173o–18o8), Italian poet, was born at Padua in 1730, of a noble but impoverished family. At the university of his native place his literary progress procured for him at a very early age the chair of rhetoric, and in 1768 the professorship of Greek and Hebrew. On the invasion of Italy by the French, he gave his pen to their cause, received a pension, and was made knight of the iron crown by Napoleon I., to whom, in consequence, he addressed a bombastic and extravagantly flattering poem called Pronea. Cesarotti is best known as the translator of Homer and Ossian. Much praise cannot be given to his version of the Iliad, for he has not scrupled to add, omit 767 and modernize. Ossian, which he held to be the finest of poems, he has, on the other hand, considerably improved in translation; and the appearance of. his version attracted much attention in Italy and France, and raised up many imitators of the Ossianic style. Cesarotti also produced a number of works in prose, including a Course of Greek Literature, and essays On the Origin and Progress of the Poetic Art, On the Sources of the Pleasure derived from Tragedy, On the Philosophy of Language and On the Philosophy of Taste, the last being a defence of his own great eccentricities in criticism. His weakness was a straining after novelty. His style is forcible, but full of Gallicisms. A complete edition of his works, in 42 vols. 8vo, began to appear at Pisa in 1800, and was completed in 1813, after his death. See Memoirs, by Barbieri (Padua, 1810), and Un Filosofo delle lettere, by Alemanni (Turin, 1894).
End of Article: GIUSEPPE CESARI
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