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LUIGI LANZI (1732–1810)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 188 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LUIGI LANZI (1732–1810), Italian archaeologist, was born in 1732 and educated as a priest. In 1773 he was appointed keeper of the galleries of Florence, and thereafter studied Italian painting and Etruscan antiquities and language. In the one field his labours are represented by his Storia Pittorica della Italia, the first portion of which, containing the Florentine, Sienese, Roman and Neapolitan schools, appeared in 1792, the rest in 1796. The work is translated by Roscoe. In archaeology his great achievement was Saggio di lingua Etrusca (1789), followed by Saggio delle lingue Ital. antiche (18o6). In his memoir on the so-called Etruscan vases (Dei vasi antichi dipinti volgarmente chiamati Etruschi, 18o6) Lanzi rightly perceived their Greek origin and characters. What was true of the antiquities would be true also, he argued, of the Etruscan language, and the object of the Saggio di lingua Etrusca was to prove that this language must be related to that of the neighbouring peoples—Romans, Umbrians, Oscans and Greeks. He was allied with E. Q. Visconti in his great but never accomplished plan of illustrating antiquity altogether from existing literature and monuments. His notices of ancient sculpture and its various styles appeared as an appendix to the Saggio di lingua Etrusca, and arose out of his minute study of the treasures then added to the Florentine collection from the Villa Medici. The abuse he met with from later writers on the Etruscan language led Corssen (Sprache der Etrusker, i. p. vi.) to protest in the name of his real services to philology and archaeology. Among his other productions was an edition of Hesiod's Works and Days, with valuable notes, and a translation in terra rima. Begun in 1785, it was recast and completed in 18o8. The list of his works closes with his Opere sacre, a series of treatises on spiritual subjects. Lanzi died on the 3oth of March 181o. He was buried in the church of the Santa Croce at Florence by the side of Michelangelo. r
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