Algarotti was born in Venice as the son of a rich merchant. His father and uncle were art collectors. Unlike his older brother Bonomo he did not step into the company, but decided to become an author. Francesco studied natural sciences and mathematics in Bologna under Francesco Maria Zanotti and in 1728 he experimented with optics. (Zanotti became a lifelong friend.) He travelled in the North of Italy, but moved to Florence, and Rome. At the age of twenty, he went to Cirey and Paris, where he became friendly with Voltaire and Émilie du Châtelet. Two years later he was in London, where he was made a fellow of the Royal Society. He became embroiled in a lively bisexual love-triangle with the politician John Hervey, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Algarotti left for Italy and finished his Neutonianismo per le dame ("Newtonism for Ladies"), a work on optics (1737), dedicated to Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle. Algarotti had made acquaintance with Antiochus Kantemir. In Summer 1739 he left with Lord Baltimore from Sheerness to Newcastle upon Tyne. Because of a heavy storm the ship went to Harlingen. Returning from Saint Petersburg, they visited Frederick the Great in Rheinsberg. Algarotti had obligations and came back the year after. Algarotti went with Frederick to Königsberg where he was crowned.
Gathering on Sanssouci in the Marble Hall, with Fredrik II. (the Great) of Prussia, Voltaire, d'Argens, La Mettrie, James Keith,George Keith, Friedrich Rudolf von Rothenburg, Christoph Ludwig von Stille, and Algarotti. The painting got lost in 1945
Count Francesco Algarotti was a man of vast knowledge and an expert in art and music who charmed his way into the lives of many of the leading figures of his time. At twenty-two, in London, the bisexual Algarotti became entangled in a love triangle with the bisexual Lord John Hervey, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762). Hervey and Montagu competed for Algarotti’s love and attention for many years. Frederick the Great fell in love with the charming young Algarotti and named him a count of Prussia and Court Chamberlin.
Frederik, who was impressed with this walking encyclopedia made him and his brother Bonomo Prussian counts in 1740. Algarotti accompanied Frederick to Bayreuth, Kehl, Strasbourg and Moyland Castle where they met with Voltaire, who was taking baths in Kleve for his health. In 1741 Algarotti went to Turin as his diplomat. Algarotti did not succeed to have the Kingdom of Sardinia attack Austria in the back. Frederick had offered a him salary, but Algarotti refused. First he went to Dresden and Venice, where he bought 21 paintings, a few by Jean-Étienne Liotard and Tiepolo for the court of Augustus III of Poland.
Algarotti's choice of works reflects the encyclopedic interests of the Neoclassic era; he was uninterested in developing a single unitary stylistic collection, he envisioned a modern museum, a catalogue of styles from across the ages. For contemporary commissions, he wrote up a list for paintings he recommended commissioning, including to ask of history paintings from Tiepolo, Pittoni, and Piazzetta; scenes with animals from Castiglione, and veduta with ruins from Pannini. He wanted"suggetti graziosi e leggeri" from Balestra, Boucher, and Donato Creti. Other artist he protected were Giuseppe Nogari, Bernardo Bellotto, and Francesco Pavona.
In 1747 Algarotti went back to Potsdam and became court chamberlain, but did not leave to visit the archeological diggings at Herculaneum. In 1749 he moved to Berlin. It seems he was involved in the production of operas and involved in finishing the architectural designs of Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff who had fallen ill. It was probably Algarotti who introduced his friend Tiepolo to Karl Philipp von Greifenclau zu Vollraths where he painted his masterwork on the ceiling of the main hall of the bishopric residence. In February 1753, after several years residing in Prussia he returned to Italy, living most of the time in Bologna. In 1759 Algarotti was involved in a new opera-style in the city of Parma. He influencing Guillaume du Tillot and the Duke of Parma.
Algarotti's Essay on the Opera (1755) was a major influence on the librettist Carlo Innocenzo Frugoni and the composer Tommaso Traetta, and in the development of Gluck's reformist ideology. Algarotti proposed a heavily simplified model of opera seria, with the drama pre-eminent, instead of the music or ballet or staging. The drama itself should "delight the eyes and ears, to rouse up and to affect the hearts of an audience, without the risk of sinning against reason or common sense". Algarotti's ideas influenced both Gluck and his librettist, Calzabigi writing their Orfeo ed Euridice.
In 1762 Algarotti moved to Pisa, where he died of tuberculosis. After his death Frederick the Great, who several times needed Algarotti writing texts in Latin, sent in a text for a monument to his memory on the Campo Santo in Pisa, Italy.
Also Lord Chesterfield, Thomas Gray, George Lyttelton, Thomas Hollis, Metastasio, Benedict XIV and Heinrich von Brühl were among his correspondents.
Frederick II (German: Friedrich; 24 January 1712 – 17 August 1786) was the third Hohenzollern king, reigning over the Kingdom of Prussia from 1740 until 1786. Frederick's achievements during his reign included his military victories, his reorganization of Prussian armies, his patronage of the Arts and the Enlightenment in Prussia, and his final success against great odds in the Seven Years' War. He became known as Frederick the Great (Friedrich der Große) and was nicknamed Der Alte Fritz ("Old Fritz") by the Prussian people. (P: Portrait of King Frederick II by Anton Graff, painted in 1781)
In his youth, Frederick was more interested in music and philosophy than the art of war. He defied his authoritarian father, Frederick William I, and sought to run away with his best friend Hans Hermann von Katte. They were caught at the border and King Frederick William I nearly executed his son for desertion. After being pardoned, he was forced to watch the official beheading of Hans. Upon ascending to the Prussian throne, he attacked Austria and claimed Silesia during the Silesian Wars, winning military acclaim for himself and Prussia. Near the end of his life, Frederick physically connected most of his realm by conquering Polish territories in the First Partition of Poland. He was an influential military theorist whose analysis emerged from his extensive personal battlefield experience and covered issues of strategy, tactics, mobility and logistics.
Frederick was a proponent of enlightened absolutism. He modernized the Prussian bureaucracy and civil service and pursued religious policies throughout his realm that ranged from tolerance to oppression. He reformed the judicial system and made it possible for men not of noble stock to become judges and senior bureaucrats. Some critics however point out his oppressive measures against conquered Polish subjects. Frederick supported arts and philosophers he favored, but at the same enacted several laws censoring the press. Frederick is buried at his favorite residence, Sanssouci in Potsdam. Because he died childless, Frederick was succeeded by his nephew, Frederick William II, son of his brother, Augustus William.
Nearly all 19th century German historians made Frederick into a romantic model of a glorified warrior, praising his leadership, administrative efficiency, devotion to duty and success in building up Prussia to a leading role in Europe. Historian Leopold von Ranke was unstinting in his praise of Frederick's "Heroic life, inspired by great ideas, filled with feats of arms...immortalized by the raising of the Prussian state to the rank of a power." Johann Gustav Droysen was even more extolling. Frederick remained an admired historical figure through the German Empire's crushing defeat in First World War, and the Nazis glorified him as a great German leader pre-figuring Hitler, but his reputation became far less favorable in 1945 in both East and West Germany after the fall of the Nazi regime.
Many historians have considered whether Frederick the Great was homosexual or bisexual (and perhaps possibly celibate), and his relationship with Hans Hermann von Katte was widely speculated in the Prussian court to be romantic. After Katte's execution by Frederick's father, Frederick was forced to marry Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Bevern, with whom he had no children. He immediately separated from his wife when Frederick William I died in 1740. In later years, Frederick would pay his wife formal visits only once a year.
Frederick spent much of his time at Sanssouci, his favourite residence in Potsdam. The grounds there included a Friendship Temple (built as a memorial to his favourite sister, Wilhelmine), and celebrating the homoerotic attachments of Greek Antiquity, decorated with portraits of Orestes and Pylades, among others. At Sanssouci Frederick entertained his most privileged guests, especially the French philosopher Voltaire, whom he asked in 1750 to come to live with him. The correspondence between Frederick and Voltaire, which spanned almost 50 years, was marked by mutual intellectual fascination. In person, however, their friendship was often contentious, as Voltaire abhorred Frederick's militarism. Voltaire's angry attack on Maupertuis, the President of Frederick's academy, provoked Frederick to burn the pamphlet publicly and put Voltaire under house arrest. Voltaire was accused by some of anonymously publishing The Private Life of the King of Prussia, wittily claiming Frederick's homosexuality and parade of male lovers, after he had left Prussia. Frederick neither admitted nor denied the contents of the book, nor ever accused Voltaire of having written it. Some years later, Voltaire and Frederick resumed their correspondence and eventually aired their mutual recriminations, to end as friends once more.
Other historians disagree on the nature of Frederick's sexuality, saying that Frederick's writings indicate that he simply had greater priorities than women. In 2011, an unpublished erotic poem by Frederick was discovered amongst his letters; it was written, according to correspondence with Voltaire, in response to an Italian friend's contention that northern Europeans were not as passionate as southern Europeans. Frederick's physician, Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann, claimed that the king let rumors of homosexuality appear to be true in order to avoid the public knowing that his genitalia were harmed by "a cruel surgical operation" to save his life from an unnamed venereal disease. Historian Christopher Clark concludes Frederick "may well have abstained from sexual acts with anyone of either sex after his accession to the throne, and possibly even before. But if he did not do it, he certainly talked about it; the conversation of the inner court circle around him was peppered with homoerotic banter."
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=e
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=e
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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