The Intronati of Siena

The Academy of the Intronati produced The Deceived (Gl’Ingannati) for the Sienese Carnival of 1531/32. Founded by Antonio Vignali, author of Cazzaria (The Book of the Prick), the academy’s first assembly in 1525 included five members. By 1532 membership grew to at least thirty.

The name “Intronati” signifies the “stunned,” the “dazed” or “bewildered,” and they styled themselves as an assembly of intellectual buffoons and clowns with funny names and inane activities. Their motto translates approximately as: “Pray, study, celebrate, do harm to no one, believe no one, and give no concern to the world.”

While they concentrated on philosophy, music, love, games, and poetry, playwriting was a regular part of the Intronati’s activities. Members were expected to contribute a play as the price for their admission into the academy. Yet only two plays are known to have been performed before The Deceived, I prigioni (1529–30), and Aurelia (1531).

Although individual members, like Alessandro Piccolomini, have been suggested as possible authors, The Deceived was likely a collaborative effort much in the spirit of its presentation.

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