13 February 2019

13 February

Isabella d'Este - Marchioness of Mantua

‘The First Lady of the world’

Isabella d’Este, who was a leading cultural and political figure during the Renaissance, died on this day in 1539 in Mantua.  She had been a patron of the arts, a leader of fashion, a politically astute ruler and a diplomat. Such was her influence, overshadowing her husband, Francesco II, that she was once described as ‘the First Lady of the world’. Her life is documented by her correspondence, which is still archived in Mantua. She received about 28,000 letters and wrote about 12,000. More than 2000 of her letters have survived. Read more...


Benvenuto Cellini – sculptor and goldsmith

Creator of the famous Perseus bronze had a dark history

The colourful life of the Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini ended on this day in 1571 with his death in Florence.  A contemporary of Michelangelo, Cellini was most famous for his bronze sculpture of Perseus with the Head of Madusa, which still stands in the Loggia dei Lanzi of the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, and for the gold salieri - salt cellar - he created for Francis I of France, which is now valued at $60 million. He was also known for his violent behaviour. He killed at least two people as a young man and claimed also to have shot dead Charles III, Duke of Bourbon.  Read more...


Pierluigi Collina - football referee

Italian arbiter seen as the best in game's history

Pierluigi Collina, arguably the best and certainly the most recognisable football referee in the history of the game, was born on this day in 1960 in Bologna. Collina, who was in charge of the 1999 Champions League final and the 2002 World Cup final, was named FIFA's referee of the year for six consecutive seasons. He was renowned for his athleticism, his knowledge of the laws of the game and for using his distinctive appearance to reinforce his authority on the field.  Read more...


Fire at Teatro di San Carlo Naples

Royal theatre reopens quickly after blaze 

Fire broke out during a dress rehearsal for a ballet at Teatro di San Carlo in Naples on this day in 1816, destroying a large part of the building in less than an hour. The external walls were the only things left standing, but on the orders of Ferdinand IV, King of Naples, the prestigious theatre was rebuilt in just 10 months, following designs drawn up by architect Antonio Niccolini, and was reopened to the public in January 1817. Read more...


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