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The First Pico–Ficino Controversy

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter on the first controversy between Marsilio Ficino (1433- 1499) and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494), the Florentine Duecento poet Guido Cavalcanti is central to the argument, and the dispute between Ficino and Pico over Cavalcanti's canzone Donna me prega is used in an attempt to throw light upon their further disagreement about the Platonic philosophy of love. The first Pico-Ficino controversy is in part played out over Florentine poetry, but does not have poetry as its prime concern. The chapter describes more closely at Ficino's surprising candidate for the laurels as an exemplary Tuscan poem on Platonic love: the Donna me prega was originally composed as an answer to a sonnet where Guido Orlandi had challenged Cavalcanti to explain love's origin, nature and characteristics.

Keywords: Giovanni Pico della Mirandola; Pico-Ficino Controversy; prega; Tuscan



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