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Aretino, Pietro

Country/Region:
Italy
Born:
April 20, 1492
Dead:
October 21, 1556
Genres:
Poetry, Miscellaneous prose, Drama
Painting by Tizian ca. 1548
Italian author born in Arezzo, Tuscany to a poor cobbler. He had little or no schooling, but he was clever and astute, and he soon understood the power of words. In the beginning, these talents were generally a nuisance to others. When he was fourteen, he was expelled from school as punishment for having written an insulting sonnet. He did not dare to return home for fear that his father would apply his leather on him. Instead, he embarked on an arduous walking tour that lasted for many years and ended in Rome where he was employed by a wealthy banker, Agostino Chigi, before he went into service at the court of Pope Leo X and later Clement VII. It was in the decadent, intrigue-mongering corridors of the papal palace that the brilliant, but unscrupulous, young man discovered that he could earn a living from his ability to reveal every human weakness. In combination with his wit it became an efficient and lucrative weapon pointed at the rich and powerful. He called himself "secretary of the world" because everyone turned to him to redress wrongs that had been committed by some prince or priest against them.

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