In a strange twist of fate, the painter Giordano Bruno Lattuada died in Monza on 17 February 1978, the same day that his namesake was burned at the stake by the Catholic Inquisition in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori in 1600.

By Adriana Baranello

In a strange twist of fate, the painter Giordano Bruno Lattuada died in Monza on 17 February 1978, the same day that his namesake was burned at the stake by the Catholic Inquisition in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori in 1600. Born in 1903, Giordano the painter was self-taught until 1925 when he frequented the school of design at the VIlla Reale in Monza where the sculptor Marino Marini was among his teachers. Lattuada was primarily a landscape  painter, who sought a modernist take on the genre.

Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) the Dominican friar was a celebrated philosopher, mathematician, poet and astronomer, famed for his cosmological theories. He proposed that stars were distant suns that may have exoplanets harboring life, and that an infinite universe could have no “center.” Bruno was tried for heresy by the inquisition in 1593 and found guilty. His death made him a martyr for science, and a landmark figure in the history of free thought.

The statue of Giordano Bruno erected in the Campo de’ Fiori, placed on the exact spot where Bruno died, faces the Vatican in defiance. A Masonic Grand Master, the artist Ettore Ferrari and the Grande Oriente d’Italia (the Masonic order of Italy) were strong supporters of the Italian fight for independence and unification, a process which only became complete in 1870, when the Vatican ceded control of the city of Rome and the remaining Papal States.

Autumn in the Parco di Monza, 1970, oil on canvas, private collection.

In the Parco di Monza, oil on canvas, private collection.

Entrance to the Parco di Monza, 1936, oil on canvas, Civic Museum of Monza

Snow in the Gardens of the Church of San Biasio, 1972, oil on canvas, Monza.

Photograph of Lattuada

Campo de’ Fiori, Rome

Ettore Ferrari, The Trial of Giordano Bruno by the Inquisition, 1889, bronze, Campo de’ Fiori, Rome.

Ettore Ferrari, Statue of Giordano Bruno, 1889, bronze, Campo de’ Fiori, Rome.

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