I Gelosi

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I Gelosi performing, by Hieronymus Francken I, ca. 1590

I Gelosi (meaning «The Jealous ones») was an Italian acting troupe that performed commedia dell'arte from 1569 to 1604. Their motto was Virtù, fama ed honor ne fèr gelosi, meaning "We are jealous of attaining virtue, fame, and honor".[1]

I Gelosi was formed in Milan, Italy by Flaminio Scala. Their first notable performer was Vittoria Piisimi. I Gelosi was the first troupe to be patronized by nobility: in 1574 and 1577 they performed for the king of France. After this they toured all over Europe, spreading commedia dell'arte from Italy to France, Poland, Spain, Germany, and England.

In the 1570s, Francesco Andreini joined I Gelosi and in 1578 he married Isabella Canali, an actress with the troupe. The Andreinis became the troupe's most famous performers and eventually Francesco took over as its head.

In 1604, Isabella died in childbirth in France. Francesco was so overwrought that he disbanded the troupe and retired from the stage. The stock commedia dell'arte character Isabella is named in her honor.



  • Oreglia, Giacomo (1968). The Commedia dell'arte. Methuen.
  • Smith, Winifred (1912). The Commedia dell'arte: A Study in Italian Popular Comedy. New York: Columbia University Press. Copy at Google Books; 1964 reprint (with added illustrations): New York: Blom.