The surviving written evidence, for both patriots and reactionaries, predominantly concerns upper-class women. Of course, this reflects the nature of the evidence studied so far, and the interests of the historians who have examined it. Both are likely to change in years to come. One primary source increasingly used by historians is provided by contemporary paintings and prints. Although Banti has devoted considerable attention to “historical” paintings as an expression of the Nazione del Risorgimento in its making, he has restricted his attention to early Romantic artists such as Francesco Hayez (1791-1881). Hayez specialized in portraits and “heroic” paintings of medieval and Renaissance episodes, and appropriated for nationalistic purposes themes from the older regional patriotisms. Such is the case for I Vespri Siciliani (1844-6), which celebrated a Medieval rising of the Sicilians against the French invaders.
The New York Times described Fred Plotkin as “a New Yorker, but with the soul of an Italian” who is a legend for “his renaissance mastery” of Italian music and food. He attended the Universities of Bologna and Pavia, worked at La Scala as a Fulbright Scholar and is the Italy expert that others turn to for definitive and complex answers about everything in his favourite nation. He lectures all over the world on topics on which he is passionate, including how we can live the life of the Renaissance Man in modern times.
On April 15th, at Carnegie Hall, the crowd listening to Othello shouted repeatedly, “Bravi!”, and Riccardo Muti took a deep bow. This certainly wasn’t the first time Muti, the current Musical Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has received a standing ovation, and surely it won’t be the last. Once this Naples-born conductor puts down his baton, listeners inevitably rise to their feet, moved by the emotional force of his music, clapping without inhibition for more.