Lester K. Little
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Porters of the imagination
in Indispensable immigrants
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The misuse of a brenta for a slapstick scene featuring crap may tell us obliquely of Teofilo Folengo's view of wine carriers, but Baldus's departure for a sea voyage occasions a head-on expose his take on all sorts of porters. A near contemporary of Folengo was Angelo Beolco, a playwright who took the name Ruzzante from one of his own characters. Ruzzante's characters are often either peasants or else urban workers uprooted from peasant origins and corrupted by the experience of living in an urban environment. Cestaroli were porters in the city of Venice who stood in certain places near the fish market of Rialto, or similarly near butchers' shops. Annibale Carracci owes his reputation in High Renaissance Italian art not to his drawing of a wine porter but to the stupendous frescos with which he decorated the gallery walls and ceiling of the Farnese Palace in Rome.

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Indispensable immigrants

The wine porters of northern Italy and their saint, 1200–1800


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