Pietro Aretino

Aretino, Pietro (pyĕˈtrō ärātēˈnō) [key], 1492–1556, Italian satirist. He led a life of adventure and wrote abusive works for hire. His derisive wit was so feared that the gifts of those who sought either to buy him or buy him off made him very wealthy. He was a friend of Titian, who painted his portrait. His comedies, such as La cortigiana and La talenta, are singular, if exaggerated, portraits of his time. His letters, in spite of their impudent coarseness, are full of verve. Ariosto called him the "scourge of princes."

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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