Nuccio Ordine is Professor of Italian Literature at the University of Calabria (Italy). Fellow of the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, he has taught at universities in the US (Yale, New York University) and Europe (EHESS, ENS Paris, Paris-IV Sorbonne, Paris-III Sorbonne-Nouvelle, CESR of Tours, Institut Universitaire de France, Paris-VIII, Warburg Institute, Eichstätt University). His books have been translated into many languages, among which Chinese, Japanese and Russian. He is general editor of a new edition of Bruno's work and, along with Yves Hersant and Alain Segonds, of three collections of classics at Les Belles Lettres. In Italy, he is general editor of the series “Sileni” and ”Umbrae idearum” at Liguori, “Classici del pensiero europeo” at Nino Aragno Editore, and “Classici della letteratura europea” at Bompiani. He writes for Corriere della Sera.
The project will focus on the poetics of two key figures of the late Renaissance: the artist Caravaggio and the philosopher Giordano Bruno. A comparative analysis of Caravaggio’s paintings and Bruno’s writings will help to illuminate major themes at the centre of their attitudes to nature, art and religion. After an initial phase, during which I shall examine whether Caravaggio could possibly have come across Bruno’s thought, given that his books were difficult to find in Italy between 1590 and 1610, I shall attempt to re-interpret some of Caravaggio’s paintings in light of Bruno’s philosophy. The representation of Narcissus, for example, might reveal their common interest, not in the theme of homoeroticism, which has often been mentioned, but instead in the myth of the origins of painting, in shade and in the delicate question of how identity can coexist with dissimilarity or, in other words, how unity can presuppose diversity.