Pietro Aretino was a 16th-century Italian poet, satirist, and playwright who, according to the Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt, “kept all that was famous in Italy in a kind of state of siege.” A new exhibition reconstructs Aretino’s life with the help of approximately 100 paintings. While he was a great friend to artists—Titian painted his portrait three times—Aretino was considerably less popular among the royals he regularly skewered. His career kicked off in 1516 with the mocking pamphlet, “The Last Will and Testament of the Elephant Hanno,” written to mark the death of Pope Leo X’s beloved pet. —J.V.
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