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Francesco Algarotti
(1712 - 1764) Italy


Philosopher and art connoiseur


Born in Venice, he studied in Bologna, then in 1733 moved to Paris, where he led a life of studies and of enjoyement at the same time. He went then to London, there it seems that he became the lover of Lord John Hervey, George II's minister. But Algarotti was bisexual and had an affair also with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu...

AlgarottiWhen he was back to Venice, he receieved love letters from both his lovers. Lord Hervey wrote him: "Je vous aime de tout mon coeur..." and Lady Mary sent him expressions like, "Je vous aimerai toute ma vie". Algarotti returned polite encouragements to both, but had his own love affairs to attend to.

In fact he was now in love with a young man from Milan, called Firmaon and with him he traveled in southern France. When he returned to London in 1739 he stayed with Hervey.

But just three months later he moved to Saint Petersburg, Russia. He went to live for two years in Germany, where Frederick II, who fell for Algarotti and appreciated very much his company. The became lovers, Algarotti replacing the previous lover of Frederick, Baron Keyserling, and the king granted him the title of Count.

This didn't refrain Algarotti by having affairs also with other men, so that Voltaire wrote about him, "tender Algarotti [was] strongly hugging handsome Lugeac, his young friend, I seem to see Socrates reinvigorated on Alcibiades' back". In 1753 Algarotti was back to Italy.

He wrote many books - about physics, music, painting. From Augustus III of Saxonia he received the assignement to buy in Italy art masterpieces for his gallery in Dresden. Algarotti was also a good designer and engraver. He died in Pisa where is still visible in the southern wing of the famous Camposanto the imposing mausoleum that Frederick the great had built for him, in memory of their past relationship.<


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