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Angelo Beolco, known as “Ruzante” (Padua 1496-1542), was the greatest Italian playwright in the 1500s. His nom de plume, Ruzante, comes from the verb “rucare”, which in the dialect of Padua means “to stutter”.

Ruzante was born in Padua, the illegitimate son of Giovanni Francesco, a doctor and teacher of medicine. He grew up in a cultured, comfortable home and soon started writing and acting, supported by his friend Alvise Cornaro, a rich landowner, scholar and typical exponent of the Venetian Humanism, who combined a passion for study and clever management of his lands.

Ruzante initially only worked in the theatre sporadically during the Venetian Carnevale (Pastoral, 1519-1520, and Betìa, 1522-1525), but soon entered a more intense period of writing, focussing on the themes of country-life, war and social tensions. This period coincided with his decision to abandon poetry in order to concentrate on prose. His best plays belong to this period (1527-1531): his three Dialoghi, his Moscheta and Fiorina. He also staged a few comedies with Ludovico Ariosto at the Court in Ferrara. The last stage of his artistic career was linked to developments in Neoclassicism, as can be seen in his works such as Piovana (1532) and Vaccaria (1533).

1500  -   - rev. 0.1.5

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