Iacopo de' Benedetti, already known by his contemporaries as Iacopone, is still one
of the most complex religious figures to define. He was born in Todi in
1230-36, from a noble and well-off family, conducting an animated social life.
But every thing is destined to change, when, after the violent death of his
wife because of the collapse of a ceiling during a dance party, Jacopone
discovers that she wore a hair shirt, a secret tool of penitence. To the
spiritual crisis of the years 1268-69, it follows, around one decade later, the
entry in the order of the Smaller Monks. Its personality brought him to
experiment forms of very personal religiousness, characterised by the excess of
love for God, a love that abducts and makes '' insane ''. The intimate union
with God is expressed in Iacopone with an overflowing feeling that conducts to
madness, and to a whole series of anomalous behaviours that cannot be
understood from who aren't in the same condition. To this personal way of
living faith, follows an unusual expressive way, that sets him to the centre of
the Two hundred literature and not only that sacred. Iacopone from Todi reinvent and confers dignity to a literary kind that until then was relegated
circle of the personal and monastic religiousness to the solo, the '' lauda ''.
Of Iacopone is reached a corpus of 92 laudes, in which there are the classical
themes of his mystical speculation, as the holy madness, the vanity of the
world, the penitence, the humility, the sentence of the science and the culture.
The great concreteness and expressive energy of his compositions is increased
by the choice to write in the Umbrian dialect, thanks to which the verses
assume a notable lexical structure. This makes him the most greater poetic
pre-Dante figure, author of unforgettable compositions, as grieves '' Crying
Madonna '' or the '' Stabat Mater ''. Iacopone from Todi, as
tradition wants, died in Collazione, near Todi in the 1306 on Christmas
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