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Giorgio Tabarroni

Italian family of patrons and collectors. They were one of the wealthiest and most celebrated patrician families of Milan. The earliest records of them date from 1228, when they made lavish donations to the monastery of Chiaravalle, near Milan. Giuseppe Archinto (i) (d 1476), Chancellor under Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza (reg 1466–76), added to the family’s wealth. His grandson Francesco Archinto (d 1551), a jurist, was the favoured commissary of Louis XII in the area of Chiavenna; a portrait of him, preserved by the family, is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. Francesco’s cousin Filippo Archinto (1500–58) was appointed Senator by Duke Francesco Maria Sforza and in 1530 represented Milan at the coronation of the Emperor Charles V in Bologna. Filippo held various Imperial posts, including that of Ambassador to Rome, where Pope Paul III ordained him Bishop. In 1566 the Pope appointed him Archbishop of Milan, in which capacity his portrait (...

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Balbi  

Lorenza Rossi

Italian family of patrons and collectors. Their residence in the Piazza del Guastato, Genoa, is documented from 1547. With the collaboration of the Genoese comune they made the road (originally the Strada Nuovissima, now the Via Balbi) linking the Piazza del Guastato with the Porta di S Tomaso and were responsible for commissioning many buildings along it. Niccolò Balbi (d c. 1549), a silk merchant, made the family fortune and had four sons: Giovanni Francesco Balbi (d c. 1593), Pantaleo Balbi, Giovanni Girolamo Balbi and Bartolomeo Balbi. The third, Giovanni Girolamo, almost certainly lived in Antwerp, and his collection contained many works by Flemish artists and the works of such Genoese painters as Sinibaldo Scorza, Domenico Fiasella, Giovanni Battista Carlone (i) and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione. The youngest son, Bartolomeo, also lived in Antwerp, where it is thought that he started his collection of paintings. His son, ...

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Deborah Howard

Italian family of patrons. They were endowed with intelligence and artistic gifts, as well as wealth and influence, and they included some of the most eminent humanist scholars of the 15th century, including Francesco di Candiano Barbaro (c. 1395–1454), a Latin and Greek scholar, and Ermolao Barbaro (1453–97), the author of important commentaries on Aristotle, later edited by (1) Daniele Barbaro. The family’s principal palace on the Grand Canal, Venice, has remained one of the least altered of the city’s Gothic palaces, apart from the enlargements (1694–8) of Antonio Gaspari (1670–1730). From 1534 onwards, Fra Zuanne Barbaro was one of the two friars who took special responsibility for the rebuilding of S Francesco della Vigna in Venice to the design of Jacopo Sansovino. His brother Francesco Barbaro was the first Venetian noble to purchase one of the family chapels in the new church. The Barbaro family owned huge estates in the Veneto above Treviso. It was here in the 1550s that ...

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Giorgio Tabarroni

Italian family of patrons. They are documented from the early 1200s in Verona, where their rise in fortune was related to their support of the della Scala (or Scaligeri) family (reg 1259–1387). In 1336 Francesco Bevilacqua (1304–68) received a gift of land near Montagnana for his services; he built a castle there and the settlement that grew up around it is still known as Bevilacqua. In 1381 his son Guglielmo Bevilacqua (1334–97) sought refuge with Gian Galeazzo Visconti, later 1st Duke of Milan, who subsequently became ruler of Verona (reg 1387–1402). The Bevilacqua family thus regained possession of its lands but following Visconti’s death allied itself with Venice, which assumed control of Verona in 1516. At the splendid Palazzo Bevilacqua (1530), on the Corso Cavour, Verona, redeveloped by Michele Sanmicheli for Antonio Bevilacqua and his brother Gregorio, the architect took his inspiration from the nearby Roman gate, the Porta dei Borsari, to create one of his most successful works. The building has a Mannerist façade exhibiting a complex interplay of decorative features. The Verona family later also included Count ...

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Giorgio Tabarroni

Italian family of patrons. Pietro Boncompagni (d 1404), a reader in civil law from 1378 to 1391, was buried in a tomb in S Martino, Bologna, where a Boncompagni family chapel, outstanding for its works of art, was completed in 1534. Its richly carved decoration is attributed to Amico Aspertini, and it features an Adoration of the Magi (1532) by Girolamo da Carpi on the wooden altar (attrib. Bartolomeo Ramenghi Bagnacavallo I). A great-grandson of Pietro Boncompagni, Cristoforo Boncompagni (1470–1546) was a draper and financier. He built a palazzo (1538–45) near the cathedral of S Pietro; its decorations were completed by his sons after his death. Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola may have contributed to this elegant and dignified structure. Restored in 1845, the palazzo, now called Palazzo Benelli, stands at Via del Monte 8. Interior restoration work began in 1980.

Cristoforo Boncompagni’s ten children included a son Ugo Boncompagni, who became ...

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Janet Southorn

Italian family of patrons, merchants and statesmen. From the 14th century the family was a powerful force in the political and economic life of Florence. A focus for their patronage was the family chapel in the church of Santo Spirito, Florence, which contains the sarcophagus (1458) of Neri di Gino Capponi (1388–1457) by Bernardo Rossellino. In 1521 Ludovico Capponi (d 1534), having pursued a banking career in Rome, returned to Florence and in 1525 bought the Annunziata Chapel (attributed to Brunelleschi) in the church of S Felicità. For it he commissioned from Jacopo da Pontormo, assisted by his pupil Bronzino, decorations (1525–8) that included an altarpiece of the Lamentation (in situ), which has subsequently been regarded as both Pontormo’s masterpiece and a key work of Mannerism. Bronzino later executed a portrait (c. 1550; New York, Frick) of Ludovico’s son, also named Ludovico Capponi (...

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Douglas Lewis and William L. Barcham

[Corner]

Italian family of nobles and patrons. Among the richest, most powerful and oldest of Venetian families, the Cornaro boasted four doges among its members, the first of whom was (1) Marco Cornaro. The best-known member of the family is (2) Caterina Cornaro, the dispossessed Queen of Cyprus; her knighted brother Giorgio Cornaro (1447–1527), a hero of the Wars of the League of Cambrai, established three of his sons as heads of independent branches: the Cornaro della Regina, named for their inheritance of the Queen’s great Gothic palace (c. 1450–80; destr. 1723; rebuilt 1723–c. 1730) in the parish of San Cassiano; the Cornaro di Ca’ Grande, whose palace (begun 1545) at San Maurizio was designed by Jacopo Sansovino; and the Cornaro di San Polo, whose palace (c. 1550) was by Michele Sanmicheli (see Sanmicheli [Sammicheli; Sanmichele; da San Michiel] (da Verona), Michele, §1, (ii), (a)...

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Deborah Howard

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Janet Southorn

[Hercolani.]

Italian family of patrons. The Bolognese branch of the family was descended from Andrea Ercolani, who settled in Bologna early in the 15th century. In the second quarter of the 16th century Conte Vincenzo Ercolani became a senator in Bologna and was ennobled by Pope Clement VII. For the family chapel in S Maria del Baraccano he commissioned a Disputation of St Catherine (c. 1551–60; in situ) from Prospero Fontana (i), and according to Vasari he was the owner (perhaps the first) of Raphael’s Vision of Ezekiel (Florence, Pitti) and the Noli me tangere by Correggio (c. 1520–28; Madrid, Prado). In 1560 the writer Pietro Lamo noted these paintings in the collection of Conte Agostino Ercolani. In the 17th century the family continued its patronage of painters, including Guercino. In 1699 Filippo Ercolani was made a prince of the Holy Roman Empire by the Emperor Leopold I. In Bologna Filippo was a patron of the painters ...

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Francis Russell

English family of patrons and collectors. One of the earliest notable members of the family was the leading Renaissance poet, Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke (1554–1628); from 1605 the family was established at Warwick Castle, Warwicks. Francis Greville, 1st Earl Brooke and 1st Earl of Warwick (1719–73), was a patron and collector on a considerable scale, acquiring Dutch pictures and commissioning a series of family portraits from Joshua Reynolds and views of Warwick Castle from Canaletto (c. 1748 and 1751; examples New Haven, CT, Yale Cent. Brit. A.; Birmingham, Mus. & A.G.). The Earl also engaged ‘Capability’ Brown to make improvements to Warwick Castle and its park during the 1750s. His eldest son, George Greville, 2nd Earl Brooke and 2nd Earl of Warwick (1746–1816), whose portrait was among those by Reynolds (1754; priv. col., see Reynolds, exh. cat., ed. N. Penny; London, RA, ...

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Michael Kitson

Rulers and patrons. The patronage of the dukes of Lorraine was especially important between the late 16th century and the early 17th, and in the mid-18th. Although Lorraine was created as an independent hereditary duchy under the protection of the Holy Roman Empire during the early Middle Ages (see Lotharingia), it was linked by ties of language and culture to France. Increasing French political pressure from the mid-16th century culminated in the invasion of the territory by French forces under King Louis XIII in 1633. Until then, however, by a combination of force of personality, diplomatic skill and intermarriage with the European aristocracy, the dukes had succeeded in maintaining a peaceful and relatively prosperous, if socially backward, state. From as early as the mid-15th century, the court, based in the capital, Nancy, was noted for the promotion of poetry, music, manuscript illumination and, above all, festivities (see...

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Alessandra Civai

Italian family of patrons and collectors. Members of the family held important political positions in Florence, especially during the 15th century. One of their most important acts of patronage, recorded by Vasari, was the commissioning by Roberto Martelli (1408–64) of several sculptures from Donatello, including the famous statue of St John the Baptist as a Youth (c. 1455; Florence, Bargello). Although the accuracy of Vasari’s information has been questioned, some recently discovered unpublished documents have enabled a partial confirmation of the attribution (see Civai, 1988–9, pp. 40–59; 1989). During the 16th century the family gave important commissions to Lorenzo di Credi, Giorgio Vasari, Andrea Sansovino and Giovanni Francesco Rustici in connection with the decoration of family chapels in the basilica of S Lorenzo and the churches of S Frediano in Florence and S Agostino in Rome. In the 17th century the Martelli constructed their sumptuous chapel (...