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Machiavelli in the U.S. for 500th anniversary of The Prince

Niccolo’ Machiavelli lands in America, with an exhibition that coincides with the Year of Italian Culture in the U.S. to be mounted in Washington and New York.

Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince and his times (1513-2013)

An exhibition on Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince and his times (1513-2013), sponsored by ENI, opened at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, with Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero doing the honours. Outstanding guests included U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, along with many other representatives of cultural and political speheres.

One of the world’s 3 best known Italian literary works

Conceived to commemorate 5 centuries of Machiavelli’s masterpiece – by now one of the 3 best known works of Italian literature in the world, along with Dante’s Divine Comedy and Collodi’s Pinocchio – the exhibition (later to be mounted in New York at the Italian Cultural Institute) is a voyage through time and space: from the Renaissance era when, in a letter written in 1513, Machiavelli announced to his friend Vettori that he had composed “un’opuscolo De principatibus”, to the present day, when The Prince, published in every language in the world, has even become a video game and a comic book hero. Narrating the thousands of interpretations of that masterpiece, the exhibition includes objects, memorabilia, manuscripts, videos and sumptuous period costumes all beautifully displayed.

A key to understanding modern democracies

“This exhibition is the best way to celebrate the 500th anniversary of one of the most famous philosophical works in history”, said Ambassador Bisogniero, underscoring that “The Prince continues to offer an important key to understanding historical evolution and the problems of modern democracies”.

The objects displayed include precious medallions with Machiavelli’s face, portraits by famous painters, tapestries, priceless Renaissance manuscripts alongside much more pedestrian stamp collections and board games dedicated to The Prince, albums and videos. “Machiavelli was a sacrilegious spirit, a great innovator who would probably have appreciated offshoots of this sort”, commented curators Alessandro Campi and Marco Pizzo.

‘Lectio magistralis’ by Giuliano Amato

Giuliano Amato held a master class on the exhibition in which he observed that we owe to Machiavelli “what has been called the first great Italian discovery: the autonomy of politics”.