From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Ficino says , they may move the imagination, but without the intellect have no authority or force, because that depends immediately upon God. The same thing may be gathered from many philosophers, both Platonists and Peripatetics."--Conjectures and Researches Concerning the Love, Madness, and (1842) by Richard Henry Wilde
Torquato Tasso (11 March 1544 – 25 April 1595) was an Italian poet of the 16th century, best known for his poem La Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem Delivered, 1580), in which he depicts a highly imaginative version of the combats between Christians and Muslims at the end of the First Crusade, during the siege of Jerusalem. He suffered from mental illness and died a few days before he was due to be crowned as the king of poets by the Pope. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Tasso remained one of the most widely read poets in Europe.
Tasso and other artists
- The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote a play Torquato Tasso in 1790, which explores the struggles of the artist.
- Lord Byron's poem "The Lament of Tasso" narrates Tasso's spell in St. Anna's hospital.
- Franz Liszt composed a symphonic poem, Tasso, Lamento e Trionfo in commemoration of the centenary of Goethe's play. The sombre first half represents his anguish in the asylum, and the glorious second half charts the acknowledgement he and his poetry achieved after he departed from the hospital.
- The Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti wrote an opera about Tasso, and incorporated some of his poetry into the libretto.