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Giambattista Andreini

Portrait of Giambattista Andreini reading a book by Tacitus by Angelo Caroselli

Giambattista Andreini (9 February 1576 – 7 June 1654) was an Italian actor and the most important Italian playwright of the 17th century.[1]


Born in Florence to stage stars Isabella Andreini and Francesco Andreini, he had a great success as a comedian in Paris under the name of Leylio.[2] He was a favourite with Louis XIII, and also with the public, especially as the young lover.[2]

His wife Virginia Ramponi-Andreini, whom he married in 1601, was also a celebrated actress and singer.[3]


He left a number of plays full of extravagant imagination. The best known are L'Adamo (Milan, 1613), The Penitent Magdalene (Mantua, 1617), and The Centaur (Paris, 1622).[2] From the first of these three volumes, which are extremely rare, Italians have often asserted that Milton, travelling at that time in their country, took the idea of Paradise Lost.[2]

This image of commedia dell'arte actors from The Feather Book of Dionisio Minaggio is thought to depict Andreini as "Lelio" and his wife Virginia Ramponi-Andreini as "Florinda".[4]


  1. ^ Snyder 2007, pp. 37–38; Jakubcová, Alena (2007). Starší divadlo v českých zemích do konce 18. století (in Czech). Prague: Academia. p. 19. ISBN 978-80-200-1486-3.
  2. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911.
  3. ^ Snyder 2007, p. 37.
  4. ^ Katritzky 2006, p. 244.


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