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Visual and Poetic Allegory in Bellerofonte Castaldi's Extraordinary "Capricci a due stromenti"

David Dolata
Early Music
Vol. 33, No. 3 (Aug., 2005), pp. 371-391
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3519541
Page Count: 21
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Visual and Poetic Allegory in Bellerofonte Castaldi's Extraordinary "Capricci a due stromenti"
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Abstract

One of Seicento Italy's most intriguing public figures, Bellerofonte Castaldi was as well known for his sensational adventures, controversial poetry, and stinging satires as for his impressive musical activities as a theorbo virtuoso and composer of monody. His volume of sophisticated music for theorbo, Capricci a due stromenti (1622), is fashioned to display his wide-ranging talents as a composer, graphic artist and poet. Its multi-layered approach is designed to appeal to an exclusive audience of theorbo virtuosos, singers of pastoral love songs, and connoisseurs of fine art and poetry. Capricci's several introductory texts include a poetic tour de force in which Castaldi responds to the dedicatory sonnet by Fulvio Testi. The multiple layers of meaning that permeate the full-page engravings and texts reveal the allegorical depth of Castaldi's thinking, offer insights into his opinions on performance practice and music as a vocation, fill in chronological gaps, and shed light on his enigmatic and fascinating personality. This article probes the depths of the allegorical meanings hidden within Capricci's visual artwork and poetry, enriching our appreciation of Castaldi's artistic contribution as a whole.

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