L’elogio del Principe. Ritratti letterari di Eugenio di Savoia-Soissons
by Pietro Giulio Riga
This work focuses on a corpus of texts published in Italy in the eighteenth century (namely, biographies, poetic anthologies, orations, panegyrics, plays, and paratextual materials) and dedicated to the celebration of Eugenio Savoy-Soissons (Paris 1663 – Vienna 1736), the Italian condottiero, from a cadet branch of the House of Savoy, who fought for the Austrian House of Habsburg. On the basis of a rich and interdisciplinary bibliography, I analysed texts from different geographical and cultural origins, and stressed the peculiarities and ideological, political, thematic, and formal characteristics of these different forms of celebration. This way, I was able to identify the strategies adopted to mythologise Eugenio, which share a common heroic and eulogistic rethoric based on traditional texts (such as ancient history, the Bible, mythologic fables, dynastic epic, etc.). Like the works by painters and sculptors, poems, biographical and apologetic texts, funeral orations and plays transformed the prince’s life and enterprises into models of heroic and political virtues. Consequently, Eugenio Savoy-Soissons became the protagonist of texts characterized by religious, pro-imperial, dynastic, and even “national” functions, because he mirrored the expectations of Italian intellectuals during the War of the Spanish Succession (when he was in charge of the Austrian army in Italy) and the consequent Habsburg domination in Italy. At the same time, these texts also testify to the cultural bent of the prince, shown by the rich collection of paintings, manuscripts and printed books first collected in his houses in Vienna, and now moved to the Galleria Sabauda in Turin and the Austrian National Library.
This volume is organized according to geographic areas (1. The Kindom of Naples; 2. Rome and the Papal State; 3. Bologna and the Duchy of Milan; 4. The Savoy Piedmont); a fifth and final chapter (Writing the life of the Prince, between eulogy and historiography) is dedicated to the rich production of biographies of the prince written or translated in Italy in the eighteenth century.
Title: L’elogio del Principe. Ritratti letterari di Eugenio di Savoia-Soissons
Author: Pietro Giulio Riga
Series: Alti Studi sull’Età e la Cultura del Barocco
Publisher: Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e la Cultura della Compagnia di San Paolo
Pages: 205 pp.