Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Aretino, Pietro, born in 1492. He soon discovered a talent for pungent and ribald versification, and had to quit his native city, and go to Rome, where he secured the patronage of Leo X. and Clement VII., wrote some religious books, and very nearly obtained a cardinal's hat. Some obscene sonnets, written to match certain pictures by Giulio Romano, caused his expulsion from the Holy City. He next betook himself to Florence, where he remained under the protection of Giovanni de Medici till 1537. His last abode was Venice. There he died in 1557 from the effects of an uncontrollable fit of laughter. He called himself "The Divine," and his admirers styled him "The Scourge of Princes," the fact being that his talent for libel enabled him to extort blackmail from men in high position; or to act as a literary bravo for the best paymaster. He left no works that would indicate the least spontaneous wit, but his licentious vein has attracted readers and imitators.