« Bema Bembo, Pietro Benaiah »

Bembo, Pietro

BEMBO, PIETRO: Cardinal and humanist; b. in Venice May 20, 1470; d. in Rome Jan. 18, 1547. He was the son of a senator, and studied at Padua and Ferrara, in the latter place attracting the attention of Alfonso d’Este and his wife, Lucrezia Borgia. He spent six years at the court of Urbino, where he became acquainted with Raffael. He then went to Rome, where Leo X recognized his ability as a Latinist by making him his secretary. As he held this office to the death of the 38pope (1521), the sixteen books of Latin letters of Leo X are practically, as to their form, of Bembo's composition. Returning to Padua, Bembo made his house the meeting-place of humanist circles. In 1530 he was commissioned by the Venetian senate to complete the history of the republic begun by Marcantonio Sabellico. His part of the work, covering the years 1487–1513, has been justly criticized as to historic accuracy by Justus Lipsius (Politica, i, Leyden, 1589, 9, note). On the other hand, not only in the Rime, but also in his letters, there is a regrettable tendency to a loose frivolity strongly bordering on pagan morals. This tendency, shown also in his manner of life—he was the father of several illegitimate children—was no obstacle to his being made a cardinal (1539). From that time on (he was now sixty-nine), he is said to have changed his life. He held two bishoprics, Gubbio and Bergamo, but he lived in Rome till his death. His Opera were published in three vols. at Basel, 1567; Strasburg, 1611–52; four vols., Venice, 1729. His Rime (Venice, 1530) have often been re-printed; as has his Gli Asolani (1505), a dialogue on the nature of love.

K. Benrath.

Bibliography: The first Vita was issued by Giovanni della Casa at Florence, 1567, a second is found in the Venice edition of his works, ut sup., while a third was published by L. Beccadelli in Monumenti di varia letteratura, vol. i, Bologna, 1799, and also by W. P. Greswell, Memoirs of . . . Petrus Bembus, Manchester, 1801. Consult also V. Cian, Un Decennio della vita di M. P. Bembo, 1521–31, Turin, 1885; J. P. Niceron, Mémoires, xi, 358, xx, 32, 43 vols., Paris, 1729–45; W. W. Westcott, Tabula Bembina; The Isiac Tablet of Cardinal Bembo, its History and Significance, Bath, 1887.

« Bema Bembo, Pietro Benaiah »
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