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1490 - February 25, 1547
Cardinal Bembo, Luigi Alamanni and Baldassare Castiglione were among her literary friends. She was also on intimate terms with many of the Italian Protestants, such as Pietro Carnesecchi, Juan de Valdes and Ochino, but she died before the church crisis in Italy became acute, and, although she was an advocate of religious reform, there is no reason to believe that she herself became a Protestant. Her life was a beautiful one, and goes far to counteract the impression of the universal corruption of the Italian Renaissance conveyed by such careers as those of the Borgia. Her amatory and elegiac poems, which are the fruits of a sympathetic and dainty imitative gift rather than of any strong original talent, were printed at Parma in 1538; a third edition, containing sixteen of her Rime Spirituali, in which religious themes are treated in Italian, was published at Florence soon afterwards; and a fourth, including a still larger proportion of the pious element, was issued at Venice in 1544.
A great deal has been written about Vittoria Colonna, but perhaps the best account of her life is A. Luzio's Vittoria Colonna (Modena, 1885); A. von Reumont's Vita di Vittoria Colonna (Italian corrected edit., Turin, 1883) is also excellent; F. le Fevre's Vittoria Colonna (Paris, 1856) is somewhat inaccurate, but T. Roscoe's Vittoria Colonna (London, 1868) may be recommended to English readers; P. E. Visconti's Le Rime di Vittoria Colonna (Rome, 1846) deals with her poems. (L. V.*)
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
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