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Vittorino Da Feltre And Other Humanist Educators

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Overview

'The humanist idea of education is among the permanently influential legacies of the Italian Renaissance. Four short Latin treatises published between 1400 and 1460 define it admirably: Pier Paolo Vergerio's De ingenuis moribus et liberalibus adolescentiae studiis; Leonardo Bruni's De studiis et literis; the De liberorum educatione of Aeneas Sylvius, who later became Pope Pius II; and Battista Guarino's De ordine docendi et studendi. Translated into English by William Harrison Woodward and framed, on the one hand, by his description of the famous school founded by Vittorino da Feltre in 1424 at the court of Gianfrancesco Gonzaga, marquis of Mantua, and, on the other, by a judiciously balanced analysis of the aims and methods of the humanist educators, these important texts form the heart of a book that has remained for almost seventy years the fundamental study of early Renaissance educational theory and practice.'

From the foreword by Eugene F. Rice Jr.

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THE TREATISE DE INGENUIS MORI BUS BY PETRUS PAULUS VERGERIUS. Vergerius has been referred to above, p. 14 seqq., in connection with Humanism at Padua during the period when Vittorino da Feltre was residing there. Vergerius was born at Capo d' Istria in 1349: after spending some years at Padua he removed to Florence, where he taught Logic, and studied Civil and Canon Law. In 1391 we find him again in Padua, as 'Doctor Artium," as 'Doctor Medi- cinae,'2 and as professor of Logic3. In his teaching of this latter subject he has broken away from scholastic method, and already gives evidence of an essentially modern treatment of Dialectic, in which he was followed by Vittorino4. But he had already at Florence, if not earlier, imbibed the full - Humanist enthusiasm. In 1392", or soon after, he composed the Treatise De ingenuis moribus6, for the use of Ubertinus,son of Francesco Carrara, the lord of Padua. This work, which has been too much overlooked by later students of the Renaissance1, was for a century and a half after its appearance amongst the most widely read of all the productions of the Revival of Letters. In the sixteenth century it was diligently studied in schools, as Paulus Jovius2 records. Bembo prized it as 'digna philosopho,' Sabellico finds it 'gravissimis respersa sententiis, utpote qui philosophiae prius operam dedit quam ad scribendum venisset.' Brucker is astonished at the knowledge of human nature, and at the lofty view of the Teacher's function, so much in advance of that age, which the work reveals. Prof. Combi3, the latest and most ardent student of Vergerius, affirms that he is 'one of the most illustrious of the long series of Italian educators, and thefirst to approach the—Subject uponThe new lines, and with Jjje laitfer scope, rendered poBfiihl hy the...
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