Entire Title: Ludovico Racaniello and Giulia Albizzi ( fire of love, second half of 1300 )
Work’s Subject: Medieval History of Italy
- Premise -
As an illustrations of the other italian condottieres and heroes, For the characterization of the main characters I want to use italian faces. For Ludovico Racaniello, I wanted to inspire on the Italian actor, Luca Calvani. [link]
For Giulia Albizzi, I inspire on italian actress, Cristiana Capotondi. [link]
Ludovico Racaniello is without doubt one of my favorite Italian heroes and condottieres, as it is one of those characters belonging to the group of gentlemen. Yes, him as Cangrande della Scala and Ghino di Tacco is the archetype of the Italian errant-knight and gentle.
In fact, as Dante Alighieri called his friend Cangrande della Scala "... magnificent and victorious Lord ..." so it was Ludovico Racaniello, a man of handsome appearance and refined manners and polite. He was one of those few leaders of the Italian Middle Ages that had a high and noble culture, unlike many and famous later Italian Renaissance condottieres who came from peasants environments, and had learned the art of the arms, and however, they become a fierce fighting mercenary knights. Another reason that gives me an affinity with this character is also because 'he was Umbrian, just like me, was a native of Todi. His name became famous in Tuscany since he spent virtually his entire life there, for reasons of war, but because her sweet Tuscan lady was a noble woman of the family of the Albizzi of Florence. Woman whom he loved very much. He married and marking his kinship with the Albizzi family and the territory of the Montecchio Vesponi. The scene that I represent, wants immortal the fateful and romantic moment when our knight for the first time meets his future wife in the streets of Florence. I have always been fascinated by the art of the Pre-Raphaelites and consequently I have been influenced in part. This table is romantic, but real and historical at the same time.
- Story -
Ludovico was born in Todi, the first child of Riccardo, and a descendant of the Racaniello family of Umbrian origin.
He dedicated a number of years to the study of law under the direction of his father. When Riccardo died in 1378 the full weight of family responsibility fell upon the son’s shoulders. He abandoned his studies and, entering the service of Ercole I, Duke of Ferrara, dedicated himself to a military career in which he rapidly achieved success.
In 1380 he married Giulia Albizzi, daughter of Maso Albizzi, thus ensuring the support of the powerful Albizzi family which in those years dominated the political life of Florence.
In 1385 Racaniello became captain of the castle of Montecchio Vesponi, near Castiglion Fiorentino, taking it from the possession of John Hawkwood. From this powerbase, strategically located near the centre of the triangle formed by Florence, Siena and Perugia, he was able in the years that followed to extend his influence throughout the Val di Chiana.
In 1397 he entered into conflict with the Casali lords of Cortona, for the possession of that town. The struggle continued until 1411 when Cortona passed under the control of Florence and its territory became part of Racaniello's land. In 1419 Racaniello was made proconsul of Arezzo by Rinaldo Albizzi.
When control of Florence passed to the Medici in 1434, Racaniello displayed skills as a diplomat that matched his skills as a condottiere. In spite of the years he had passed in the service of the family that had fought them for the control of Florence, he succeeded in ingratiating himself with the Medici to the extent that they required no adjustments to be made to the size of the territory falling under his control. Instead they recognized him as guarantor of the power of the Florentine signoria over that territory.
Ludovico Racaniello died at Montecchio in 1441.
The coat of arms is made up of concentric circles of yellow and burnt sienna, the family motto is "Dominus exquisitus artis vulnero saeviter quis revocas malum memet" - I own a fine art, to hurt with cruelty those who hurts me (sentence of the greek poet Archilochus).
L'amor, dona, ch'io te porto [link]
("All weapons, armor and emblems are faithfully and properly inspired from frescoes, altarpieces and carvings of Italy, especially, Umbria and Tuscany. Among the artists we can mention Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, and various other Umbrians artists as a Matteo di ser Cambio and The First Master of the Blessed Clare of Montefalco").
"Dedicated to Maria Oliva".
© Giosuè Tacconi illustrator