Michelangelo Buonarroti, Canzoniere

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Michelangelo Buonarroti, Canzoniere

Maria Chiara Tarsi

Research output: Book/ReportBook


[Autom. eng. transl.] In the mid-forties of the sixteenth century, Michelangelo set up a songbook, making a selection within a now substantial poetic production, the result of an exercise that was anything but episodic or occasional. Although not in a definitive form, the songbook reveals a precise author's will as a whole: the 'realistic' compositions are excluded, the shape of the madrigal is preferred (only in the second measure and in a much smaller proportion, than the sonnet), only texts of amorous inspiration are allowed. Positive and negative force at the same time, love not only petrarchescamente burns and chills, but saves and condemnation: the antitheses and contradictions, which Michelangelo already found in Petrarch, and which he recomposed by means of poetry, remain instead in these rhymes throughout their dramatic radicality. Thus devoid of any development or evolution, Michelangelo's poetry reduces the lexicon to a minimum, subjecting it however to an intense 'experimental' process: the almost obsessive return on the same themes, with a play of subtle variations, is the attempt to test the multiple semantic possibilities of the language. Working on a single word or on a single verse, Michelangelo remotely recovers the materials, bends the frequent references to the lyrical tradition to his own needs to make them unrecognizable, in fact distorting the linguistic code that comes from Petrarch (the absolute model of his poetry) and sixteenth-century Petrarchism, passing it on to the filter of its restless, tormented sensitivity. In this key, the obscurity of many compositions must also be interpreted and evaluated, which is the linguistic indicator of the labyrinth in which the ego finds itself forced, between contradictions and second thoughts: stylistic irregularity is itself an expression of the tensions that tear the ego, of an inextricable tangle of feelings and thoughts that never melts in the desired balance. And in this light, the entire poem of Michelangelo must be reconsidered, born in and on Petrarch but at the same time new and different, traditional and eccentric and for this reason, perhaps, in its way so modern.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Michelangelo Buonarroti, Canzoniere
Original languageItalian
PublisherFondazione Pietro Bembo
Number of pages311
ISBN (Print)978-88-235-0936-8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Michelangelo Buonarroti, Petrarchismo, Rinascimento


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