“Worthy of Remembering”: Isabella d’Este’s Management of Plague

In the past year the Covid19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus how individuals, communities and governments respond when faced with a frightening, fast moving, unknown epidemic disease. Covid19 has become part of our everyday lives. Daily reports about the advancement of the pandemic have become normal as have the monitoring of death figures, infection figures and now, thankfully, the number of people who have been vaccinated against it.

The response to Covid19 has unfolded before our eyes and debates about how to respond to Covid19 are ongoing. Discussions address how the disease does or does not spread, quarantine and social distancing, the need to supply adequate healthcare provision, treatment, economic disruption and dislocation, restrictions on travel, and compliance with public health measures, especially when their efficacy is questioned.

These are familiar themes for historians of epidemic disease. In my work on the responses to plague in Mantua, health officials appointed by the Gonzaga imposed quarantine measures, created temporary plague hospitals, sought remedies, and grappled with the economic impact upon the city and state. As we have experienced in the past year, Mantuans in the sixteenth century had to adapt to new rules and limits on their activities, and did not always do so happily. In 1506 two men quarantined in a house in the city were reprimanded for verbally abusing a doctor in the street. They demanded better care, showing their physical symptoms, their buboes, as they hung out the window. Continue reading ““Worthy of Remembering”: Isabella d’Este’s Management of Plague”

The Virtual Studiolo, Phase 1 Demo

AVirtual Studiolo demonne MacNeil will be presenting The Virtual Studiolo, phase 1 demo at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society on 7 November, 5:00-6:00pm CDT (Central Daylight Time). The Virtual Studiolo presentation is part of a digital showcase sponsored by the AMS Committee on Technology and is one of four projects on exhibit. AMS members will be able to talk with Prof. MacNeil about The Virtual Studiolo and the Isabella d’Este Archive in general, but the demo is available for all to see!

Explore The Virtual Studiolo, phase 1 demo here

Great Performances from the Newberry Consort

Relax and enjoy excerpts from the Newberry Consort’s February 2020 program The Marchesa: Isabella d’Este, a co-production with Philadelphia’s Piffaro: Renaissance Band, with pre-concert talks by IDEA co-director Anne MacNeil.

“Lirum bililirum” by Rossino Mantovano
“Alla guerra” by Bartolomeo Tromboncino

Discover more about the Newberry Consort’s musicians, performances, and recordings – including links to the complete list of Great Performances from the Newberry Consort – here

Reflections on music, art, & letters from Isabella d’Este’s court – let us hear from you!

Something that really struck me about Ad tempo taci was when Marco Beasley started singing Bartolomeo Tromboncino’s “Tu dormi io veglio ala tempesta e vento.” The first lines went as follows: “You sleep, I stand watch in the wind and rain on the marble stone of your doorstep. You sleep, I stand watch, and with bitter accent I endlessly cry for pity that is dead to me. You sleep, I stand watch in grave torment, finding no one to comfort my pain. You sleep peacefully without worry and my eyes never close.”

Instantly, all I could think about was the state of the world we are currently in. With all of the chaos going on, these words spoke to me. I couldn’t help but translate this into thinking about patients in hospitals who can’t have visitors. Mothers are giving birth without their partners in the room with them. Grandparents are isolated – lonely and afraid. Newborns can’t meet their families. Emergency rooms are over crowed. Families have to resort to using technology to speak to one another.

These words both haunt me and bring me peace. Although many people are torn apart right now, they are still keeping watch for one another. They cry for one another. They will never stop caring for one another. And once this is all over, they can be with one another. Families will reunite. Grandparents will meet their grandchildren. There will be hugs all around. Healthcare workers will catch a break. Everything will fall back into its place eventually. But right now, all we can do is wait on the marble stone of the doorstep.

– Savannah Meier
Indian Trail, North Carolina

Link to the Ad tempo taci: Songs for Isabella d’Este here

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