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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 Although the accuracy of Vasari’s information has been questioned, some recently discovered unpublished documents have enabled a partial confirmation of the attribution (see Civai, 1988–9, pp. 40–59; 1989).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 (...