Italian family of collectors. The family, whose origins were in the Umbrian town of Cesi, settled in Rome in the 15th century. In the 16th century they were celebrated for the splendour of the Giardino dei Cesi, a sculpture garden at their palace at the foot of the Gianicolo. This was established by Cardinal Paolo Emilio Cesi (b Rome, 1481; d Rome, 5 Aug 1537), who adorned the garden with antique (and contemporary) statuary. It was inherited by his brother Federico Cesi (b ?Rome, ?1 July 1500; d Rome, 28 Jan 1565), who became Cardinal in 1544 and who reorganized the garden and the palazzo so that it seemed like ‘the entrance to Paradise’ (Aldrovandi). He restored the statues and, above all, constructed an antique sculpture museum (destr. with the palazzo, 1940) with a Greek-cross plan, designed (1556–64) by Guidetto Guidetti and intended for small but precious pieces: it was one of the first buildings constructed purposely as a ...
Donatella L. Sparti
(d Rome, 1505).
Italian banker and patron. He was from a noble family in Rome, prominent in banking and as civic officials, and received a humanist education. He formed a collection of antiquities, which was arranged in the garden of the Casa Galli (destr.), near the Palazzo della Cancelleria, Rome. In 1496, probably through his friend Cardinal Raffaele Riario, he met Michelangelo, who was on his first visit to Rome. Michelangelo came to live in Galli’s house, and Galli bought his first large-scale sculpture, the marble Bacchus (1496; Florence, Bargello). The Bacchus was displayed in the garden of the Casa Galli, where it was recorded in a drawing of 1536 by Maarten van Heemskerck (Berlin, Kupferstichkab.) and in a description c. 1550 by Ulisse Aldrovandi, until its purchase in 1571–2 by Francesco I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Galli is documented as owning a standing marble Cupid, or Apollo, by Michelangelo (untraced, though possibly to be identified as that in New York, French Embassy Cult. Bldg). He also supervised the contract of ...