Notes on a Renaissance Bestiary by Ulisse Aldrovandi

In: Paragone: Past and Present
Damiano Acciarino University of Ca’ Foscari Italy Venice

Search for other papers by Damiano Acciarino in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



A unique codex in the University of Bologna, crafted as a single monographic volume, transmits an extremely interesting treatise by the naturalist and antiquary Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522–1605). Entitled Discorso sopra alcuni animali quadrupedi per i quali si possono esprimere i 7 peccati capitali, literally ‘discourse about those animals through which it is possible to [symbolically] express the seven mortal sins,’ it was completed, according to an earlier copy (BUB Aldrov. 91, cc. 472r–482v), on 12 August 1578. The work was dedicated to Alessandro degli Orsi, a nobleman of the city and infantry commander in Hungary, who was honored in 1585 with the gran croce. This article suggests a reconstruction of lost decorations in one of the Orsi family mansions, either the Palazzo Orsi or the Villa Orsi. It also considers the moral implications of virtues versus vice represented by four-legged animals.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 125 92 5
Full Text Views 41 31 0
PDF Views & Downloads 63 45 0