Speсtacularity before the “Renaissance” of Theater: Visuality and Self-Image of the Quattrocento Papacy
This essay deals with an important chapter in the instrumentalization of “spectacularity” that is situated several decades before the humanist “Renaissance” of theater. Focusing on Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini, who acceded to the papacy under the name of Pius II (1458–1464), the essay examines the “theatrical” restructuring of Piccolomini’s place of birth, Corsignano, renamed Pienza by the Pope himself. The numerous buildings (churches, palaces, public places) that the Pope had erected in his hometown are meant to metaphorically represent his self-image as a human being elected by God with a view to leading profane and sacred history to an apogee never seen before. This self-stylization via the “stage” of the town of Pienza is corroborated, as Ivanova shows, by Pius’s textual self-interpretation in his Commentarii rerum memorabilium quae temporibus suis contingerunt (1463).