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Cherubino Ghirardacci

Short biography

The City of Bologna remembers in the Augustinian friar Cherubino Ghirardacci one of its first historians and a precursor of the modern historiographical method. The critical and comparative analysis of the sources he initiated is the basis of the elaboration of his "Historia di Bologna", a fundamental document today for any historical study of the turreted city.

In the wake of the Augustinian charism, open to the search for the Truth in all fields of human knowledge, Fra Cherubino Ghirardacci was guaranteed the time both to deepen his theological studies and to carry out historical research.

Born in Bologna in 1519, he entered the Augustinian Convent of San Giacomo Maggiore around 1532. He then continued his religious formation first in Rome and then in Siena, where, in 1543, he was ordained a priest. Starting from 1548 we find him again, but with long interruptions until 1572, at the Bolognese convent which saw his entry, then home to an important study of theology, to hold positions of a didactic and liturgical nature. The trust and esteem of Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti guaranteed him prestige at the city level and beyond, as historical research has recently attested, the results of which we will publish in the pages of this site. Of that Bologna, to which with the fervor of a man of study and culture he dedicated his pastoral activity, Cherubino Ghirardacci not only took care of the historical research but combined this with the morphological analysis and therefore the representative tension: in fact we owe the first maps to him of the city which, although lost, are at the origin of the subsequent cartographic production.

In Fra Cherubino Ghirardacci, bachelor, sacristan, master of theology, historian and cartographer, we find traces of that search for the Truth which, from an inexhaustible restlessness towards the Origin and Principle of every reality, moves to a similar speculative curiosity towards every its articulation.

Fra Cherubino Ghirardacci died in Bologna on 12 December 1598 and is buried in the Church of San Giacomo Maggiore.

On the fifth centenary of his birth, the Cherubino Ghirardacci Study Center organized a conference titled "Ghirardacci 500" to understand and contextualize the figure of the scholar in his time, and also promoted an issue of the journal in_bo entirely devoted to developments in cartography and city representation after the Council of Trent. (See here: V. 12 NO. 16 (2021): Dominion of the Sacred. Image, cartography, knowledge of the city after the Council of Trent)

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