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Chigi familylocked

  • David G. Wilkins,
  • Alessandro Angelini,
  • Sharon Gregory,
  • David L. Bershad
  •  and Janet Southorn


Italian family of patrons.

David G. Wilkins

(b Siena, Nov 29, 1466; d Rome, April 11, 1520).

He was recognized by his contemporaries as the wealthiest merchant and the most important banker in Europe and played a significant part in the social and artistic life of Rome during the Renaissance. As a patron, he favoured artists from his native Siena and in 1507 brought Sodoma to Rome. For his later projects, however, Agostino also employed non-Sienese artists and in 1511 brought Sebastiano del Piombo to Rome from Venice. Agostino Chigi was, with Pope Julius II and Pope Leo X, among Raphael’s most important patrons.

Trained in Siena, Chigi moved in the 1480s to Rome, where, as an increasingly aggressive and successful financier, he became a powerful force in the financial world. The Roman branch of the Chigi bank was established in 1502 and at its point of greatest expansion had more than 100 offices in Italy and branches in Alexandria, Constantinople, Cairo, Lyon, London and Antwerp. It advanced loans to all the popes from Alexander VI to Leo X, as well as to the Borgia, the exiled Medici, the Venetian Republic, the British monarchy and others. Chigi’s control of the papal monopoly on alum, mined at Tolfa, was a major source of his revenue. The height of his importance was during the pontificate of Julius II (...

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Dizionario biografico degli italiani (Rome, 1960–)