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berlin italian scholar

Algarotti, Francesco, Italian scholar; b. Venice, Dec. 11, 1712; d. Pisa, May 3, 1764. He was educated in Rome, Bologna, and Florence, and acquired a notable reputation as a scholar of the arts and sciences. In 1740 Friedrich II the Great of Prussia called him to Berlin and made him a Count, and, in 1747, a Chevalier de Tordre pour le mérite. He also was an advisor to Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, from 1742 to 1747. Algarotti was involved in operatic productions in Berlin and Dresden, where he arranged and versified Italian librettos to suit the requirements of his patrons. Ill health compelled him to return to Italy in 1753. In addition to numerous writings on classical subjects, architecture, and painting, he wrote the important Saggio sopra l’opera in musica (1755). In this influential work, Algarotti proposed that all of the elements in opera be subordinated to a unifying poetic idea. He also included a French libretto for Iphigénie en Aulide, which served as a model for others, including Gluck’s librettist.

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