Showing posts with label 8 June. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 8 June. Show all posts

8 June 2019

8 June

NEW - Benedetto Alfieri – architect

Talented designer behind the Teatro Regio in Turin

Baroque architect Benedetto Innocenzo Alfieri was born on this day in 1699 in Rome.  He was a member of the Alfieri family who originated in Piedmont and he became the uncle of the dramatist, Vittorio Alfieri. Benedetto was also the godson of Pope Innocent XII.  Alfieri was sent to be educated in mathematics and design by the Jesuits. He later moved to Piedmont and lived in both Turin and Asti, where he practised as a lawyer and an architect.  Charles Emmanuel III, King of Sardinia, one of his patrons, commissioned him to design the Royal Theatre in Turin, originally assigned to Filippo Juvara, but who died before work began. The building was acknowledged as his masterpiece, but it burned down in 1936 and the theatre did not reopen until 1973.  Benedetto also helped with the decoration of the interior of the Basilica of Corpus Domini in Turin and the interior of Palazzo Chiablese next to the Royal Palace in Turin. In recognition, Charles Emmanuel III made him Count of Sostegno.  Alfieri also completed the bell tower of the Church of Sant’Anna in Asti and the fa├žade of Vercelli Cathedral.  Read more...


Tomaso Albinoni - Venetian composer

Prolific writer of operas and instrumental music

The composer Tomaso Albinoni, perhaps best known for the haunting and powerful Adagio in G Minor, was born on this day in 1671 in Venice.  Albinoni was a contemporary of two other great Venetian composers, Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi, and was favourably compared with both.  It is his instrumental music for which he is popular today, although during his own lifetime he was famous for his operas, the first of which was performed in Venice in 1694.  He is thought to have composed some 81 operas in total, although they were not published at the time and the majority were lost.  His first major instrumental work also appeared in 1694. With the support of sponsorship from noble patrons, he published nine collections - in Italy, Amsterdam and London - beginning with Opus 1, the 12 Sonate a Tre, which he dedicated to his fellow Venetian, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, the grand-nephew of Pope Alexander VIII.  It was this work that established his fame.  Read more…


Giuseppe Fiorelli - archaeologist

The man whose painstaking work saved Pompeii

Giuseppe Fiorelli, the archaeologist largely responsible for preserving the ruins of Pompeii, was born on this day in 1823, in Naples.  It was due to Fiorelli’s painstaking excavation techniques that much of the lost Roman city on the Neapolitan coast was preserved as it had looked when, in 79 AD, it was totally submerged under volcanic ash following the eruption of Vesuvius.  He also hit upon the idea of filling the cavities in the hardened lava and solidified ash left behind by long-rotted bodies and vegetation with plaster to create a model of the person or plant that had been engulfed.  This became known as the Fiorelli process.  Fiorelli was only 21 when, in 1844, he was appointed an inspector in the Soprintendenza Generale degli Scavi – the body responsible for all excavations in the Naples region – and in 1847 inspector specifically for the Pompeii site.  In a bizarre twist to his story, Fiorelli was arrested and imprisoned after a rival archaeologist took advantage of a crackdown on political activists following riots in 1848 by maliciously reporting him to the authorities as a nationalist republican.  Read more…


Guido Banti – physician

Doctor was the first to define leukaemia

The innovative physician and pathologist Guido Banti was born on this day in 1852 in Montebicchieri in Tuscany.  His work on the spleen led him to discover that a chronic congestive enlargement of the spleen resulted in the premature destruction of red blood cells. Closely related to leukaemia, this was later named 'Banti’s disease' in his honour.  After graduating in 1877, he was appointed an assistant at the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence and also as an assistant in the laboratory of Pathological Anatomy.  The ability to observe patients in bed and then carry out post mortem examinations was to prove fundamental to his work.  He studied enlargement of the spleen and wrote a paper describing the condition that would become known as Banti’s disease. Banti’s name is still primarily connected with leukaemia and he opposed the views of other scientists about the disease. His description of leukaemia published in 1913 accords closely with the modern definition of leukaemia. Read more...