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Acquaviva d’Aragona, Andrea Matteo III, Duca d’Atri  

Giovanna Cassese

(b Conversano, Puglia, Jan 1458; d Conversano, Jan 9, 1529).

Italian patron. He was the son of Giulio, Duca d’Atri (d 1481), and Caterina Orsini, Contessa di Conversano (Apulia), a cousin of Queen Isabella of Castile; in 1477 he married Isabella Piccolomini of Aragon (d 1504). His extensive territories included much of the Abruzzo and Apulia, and through his second marriage to Caterina della Ratta, Contessa di Caserta, he gained lands in Campania, Lucania and Calabria. Andrea Matteo led a tumultuous political and military career, alternately supporting the Aragonese and the Angevins and losing and regaining his lands several times. From 1505, however, he settled in Naples, devoting himself increasingly to cultural activities. He was one of the most important humanist princes in southern Italy, and a member of Giovanni Pontano’s Neapolitan academy; Pontano (1422–1503) dedicated his De magnanimitate to the Duca, whom he saw as the incarnation of Renaissance man, while Paolo Giovio praised him as ‘...


Alberti, Leandro  

Claire Baines

(b Dec 12, 1479; d ?Bologna, c. April 1552).

Italian historian, topographer, writer and patron. He was a friar and first entered the Dominican Order at Forlì but was in Bologna from 1495 and was officially transferred to the monastery there in 1500. Alberti received an extensive grounding in humanist studies under the Bolognese rhetorician Giovanni Garzoni. After acting as companion to the head of the order, Tomaso de Vio Cajetan, Alberti was made Provinciale di Terra Santa in Rome in 1520. This included the role of travelling companion to Tomaso’s successor, Fra Silvestri da Ferrara (‘il Ferrariense’). His travels with Silvestri throughout Italy, including the islands, laid the foundations for his most important work, the Descrittione di tutta l’Italia (1550), modelled on the Italia illustrata of Flavio Biondo. It was reprinted many times: the Venice edition of 1561 was the first to include Alberti’s sections on the islands of Italy, which were not covered by Biondo; the Venice edition of ...


Este, Alfonso I d’, 3rd Duke of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio  

Charles Hope

(b Ferrara, July 21, 1476; reg 1505–34; d Ferrara, Oct 31, 1534).

Italian ruler, patron and collector, son of Ercole I d’Este. In 1502 he married Lucrezia Borgia and became a ruler of notable military and diplomatic ability. His chief claim to fame as patron was his employment of the poet Lodovico Ariosto, but he also patronized some of the outstanding artists of his day. His most important artistic commissions involved the decoration of his rooms in the so-called Via Coperta, the block linking the Palazzo del Corte (now Palazzo Comunale) with the Castello Estense in Ferrara, which he enlarged. No trace of the original decoration survives in situ, and the precise disposition and content of the rooms, which were later known as the Camerini Dorati and the Camerini d’Alabastro, remain matters of controversy. The two Camerini d’Alabastro contained marble reliefs (c. 1507–15) by Antonio Lombardo, of which the largest surviving group is in St Petersburg (Hermitage). These reliefs include panels with grotesque decoration as well as large figurative compositions featuring pagan deities....


Este, Alfonso II d’, 5th Duke of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio  

Patrick M. de Winter

(b Ferrara, Nov 28, 1533; reg 1559–97; d Ferrara, Oct 27, 1597).

Italian ruler, patron and collector, son of Ercole II d’Este. Having spent the years from 1552 to 1559 at the French court, once he succeeded to the Este territories his desire to outshine the Medici made him a generous patron of the arts. His court was maintained in great splendour, renowned for virtuosic theatrical productions and for the Duke’s patronage of poets (Torquato Tasso and Giovanni Battista Guarini among them), musicians and makers of musical instruments. A richly decorated harp (Modena, Gal. & Mus. Estense) was made for him in Rome in 1581 by Giovan Battista Giacomelli and subsequently inlaid in Ferrara (1587) by the Ferrarese Giulio Marescotti.

As a collector, Alfonso II took a particular interest in antiquities, often buying up entire studios formed by earlier collectors in Brescia, Bologna and Parma. In 1563 Enea Vico was appointed curator of these collections, and after his death (1567) Pirro Ligorio...


Este, Alfonso III d’, 7th Duke of Modena and Reggio  

Janet Southorn

[Padre Giovanni Battista d’Este]

(b Ferrara, Oct 22, 1591; reg 1628–9; d Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, nr Lucca, May 24, 1644).

Italian ruler, patron and collector, son of Cesare d’Este. He succeeded to the dukedom in December 1628, but abdicated in July 1629. The abdication, apparently prompted by the death of his wife Isabella of Savoy (1591–1626), whom he had married in 1608, was surprising, given Alfonso’s previous determination to be an exemplary ruler. On joining the Capuchin Order in 1629 he renounced his former interests in poetry, jousts, hunting and art (he was himself a draughtsman). Though as a ruler he had intended to rebuild the Castello di S Pietro (destr. 1634) of Modena, he advised his son Francesco I d’Este, who succeeded him, against spending on palaces; and he gave to his second son, Obizzo (1611–44), his collection of drawings that included works by, or attributed to, Raphael, Giulio Romano and Titian. Among those attributed to Titian was a Vision of St Gregory (Paris, Louvre), now attributed to Nicolò dell’Abate....


Este, Alfonso IV d’, 9th Duke of Modena and Reggio  

Janet Southorn

(b Modena, Jan 1634; reg 1658–62; d Modena, July 16, 1662).

Italian ruler, patron and collector, son of Francesco I d’Este. Alfonso’s reign was overshadowed by that of his father. From the age of 16 he had his own residence, the Casino Pentetorri, near Modena (destr. 1944), designed for him by the ducal Superintendent of Works, Gaspare Vigarani, and decorated by the court painters Jean Boulanger, Giovanni Giacomo Monti and Baldassare Bianchi. As Duke of Modena, Alfonso continued Francesco’s policies, as an ally of France (having married in 1656 Laura Martinozzi, a niece of the French statesman Cardinal Jules Mazarin), and as patron and collector. He retained Monti and Bianchi as his court painters, but also employed the Modenese Francesco Stringa. Through the agency of his uncle, Cardinal Rinaldo d’Este (1617–72) in Rome, he was a patron of Gianlorenzo Bernini, who designed the Bicchierone fountain (1661) at the Villa d’Este, Tivoli. Alfonso collected altarpieces two of which, the Assumption of the Virgin...


Almeida, Jorge de, Bishop of Coimbra  

Miguel Soromenho

(b Lisbon, 1458; d Coimbra, 1543).

Portuguese bishop and patron. He was the son of Lopo de Almeida, the 1st Conde de Abrantes (d 1508), and brother of Francisco de Almeida (1450–1510), the first viceroy of India. Jorge de Almeida was closely connected with the royal court of Portugal and in 1490 accompanied John II to the border of Spain to meet the King’s future daughter-in-law, Isabella of Castile (1470–98). As Bishop of Coimbra, he instituted a systematic revival of art at a particularly fortunate period of history, facilitated by the length of his episcopal rule (1481–1543). He was the principal benefactor of the Sé Velha (Old Cathedral, c. 1150–1200) in Coimbra, which he began to modernize in 1498 by giving it suitable surroundings and widening its broad façade. At the same time, with the permission of the chapter, he commissioned from the Flemish wood-carvers Jean d’Ypres (...


Altemps family  

Joseph Connors

(Alta Emps, Hohenems)

Italian family of patrons, of German origin. The Hohenems family from Salzburg Italianized their name when Cardinal Marcus Sitticus Altemps (1533–95) brought the dynasty to Rome. A soldier by training, he pursued an ecclesiastical career under the patronage of his uncle, Pope Pius IV (reg 1559–65). Marcus was made Bishop of Konstanz in 1561 and legate to the Council of Trent. He began the development of the massive Villa Mondragone (see Frascati), to the designs of his house architect Martino I Longhi (i); Pope Gregory XIII (reg 1572–85) often visited it. Through papal favour he accumulated enormous wealth, which he used to rebuild the Palazzo Riario near Piazza Navona, Rome, into a magnificent family palace (known thereafter as the Palazzo Altemps) and to build the Altemps Chapel in S Maria in Trastevere; both of these designs were by Longhi. Effects of the Cardinal’s patronage or his generosity survive in the many estates that he purchased or received as gifts, at Loreto, Gallese and in the area around Frascati (e.g. at Mondragone, Monte Compatri and Monte Porzio). ...


Altoviti, Bindo  

Clare Robertson

(b Rome, Nov 26, 1491; d Rome, Jan 22, 1557).

Italian banker and patron. He was born of a noble Florentine family. At the age of 16 he inherited the family bank in Rome and, after the closure in 1528 of the rival bank founded by Agostino Chigi, became the most important papal financier in the city. Despite his position as Florentine consul in Rome, he was vigorously opposed to the Medici regime and his residence near the Ponte Sant’Angelo became the gathering place of many Florentine exiles. This palazzo was restored by Altoviti in 1514 (destr. 1888) and housed a rich collection of antiquities from Hadrian’s Villa (see Tivoli, §2(ii)) and many commissioned works. Raphael painted for Altoviti the Madonna dell’Impannata (1511–16; Florence, Pitti) and his portrait, which is generally agreed to be the one (c. 1518) that is now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. In 1534 Francesco Salviati also executed a portrait of Altoviti (untraced) and frescoed the arms of Pope Paul III on the façade of the palazzo. Benvenuto Cellini made a magnificent bronze portrait bust of the banker (...


Amerbach family  

Elisabeth Landolt

Swiss family of collectors of German origin. Johannes Amerbach (b ?Amorbach, c. 1450; d Basle, Dec 25, 1513) gained his MA at the Sorbonne, Paris, and trained as a printer in Nuremberg and Venice. In 1482 he settled in Basle, where in 1484 he founded his own print shop and publishing house. He was in close contact with Albrecht Dürer during the latter’s stay in Basle (1491–2). Apart from works of art for personal use, for example ornamental daggers, he probably owned graphic and print blocks for woodcut illustrations by Dürer. Johannes’s son, Bonifacius Amerbach (b Basle, 11 Oct 1495; d Basle, 24 April 1562), a lawyer, professor at the University of Basle and syndic of the Basle council, was the heir and executor of Erasmus and owned paintings by the Holbein family and important gold and silver pieces, for example the well-known ‘...


Angeloni, Francesco  

Donatella L. Sparti

(b Terni, after 1559; d Rome, ?Nov 29, 1652).

Italian writer, historian and collector. He produced about 38 novels and several comedies, although his literary works have been little studied. In Perugia he was a member of the Accademia degli Insensati, under the name Tenebroso. He is documented as having been in Rome in the late 16th century as secretary to Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini (later Pope Clement VIII) and chief Apostolic Notary. At his home on the Pincio hill he accumulated a substantial collection, containing scientific instruments, examples of flora and fauna, a picture gallery, a large collection of Kleinkunst, medals, and a vast assortment of drawings by contemporary artists especially Annibale Carracci. The collection was accompanied by a rich library. The organization and contents of the collection are described by Angeloni himself in a manuscript in Venice (Fletcher, 1974). From 1634 his nephew Giovanni Pietro Bellori lived in the house; Angeloni educated him in art, literature and antiquities, and introduced him into the circle of classicist artists with whom he had formed a relationship, more in the role of erudite mentor than that of patron....


Anna, d’ family  

Michel Hochmann

Italian family of patrons. Probably from Brussels originally, the d’Anna family were wealthy merchants who settled in Venice at the beginning of the 16th century. Martin [Martino] d’Anna (b ?1475; d Venice, 11 Nov 1556) acquired Venetian citizenship in 1545. He bought a palace on the Grand Canal from Lodovico Talenti on 7 December 1538 (Venice, Archv Stato, Notarile atti, Ba. 3258, fols 126–8). Talenti, not Martin, must have commissioned from Pordenone the famous frescoes (c. 1534; destr., known from prints) that decorated the building’s façade. Martin continued embellishing this residence, and in his will (1553, Venice, Archv Stato, Notarile testamenti, Ba. 1218/x42) he requested that his heirs neither destroy nor disperse the decorations and furniture.

The sons of Martin d’Anna, Daniele (d Venice, 26 Dec 1579) and Giovanni (d 1580), were also important patrons. They asked Leone Leoni to engrave several medals for them (e.g. portrait medals ...



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 (...


Aretino [del Tura], Pietro  

Norman E. Land

(b Arezzo, 19 or April 20, 1492; d Venice, 1556).

Italian art critic, writer, poet and collector. He was one of the most engaging literary figures of the Italian Renaissance, known not only for his famous Lettere but also for political lampoons, erotic books and religious writings. He was the son of a shoemaker, Luca del Tura. From before 1510 until 1517 he lived in Perugia. A book of poems that he published during these years, Opera nova (1512), suggests by its subtitle, in which the author is called ‘Pietro pictore Aretino’, and by a note to the first sonnet in which he claims to be ‘studioso … in pictura’, that he had some training as an artist. About 1517 he moved to Rome, after a short period in Siena, and joined the household of Agostino Chigi. He became friendly with Raphael, Michelangelo, Sebastiano del Piombo and Jacopo Sansovino. At this time too he became known for his political lampoons. For a period Aretino was a valet to Pope Leo X; on Leo’s death in ...


Argote de Molina, Gonzalo  

Natividad Sánchez Esteban

(b Seville, 1548; d Las Palmas, Canary Islands, 1596).

Spanish soldier, writer and collector. As a reward for his military achievements, Philip II appointed him Alférez Mayor of Andalusia, and he also received honours from the kings of France, Portugal and Poland. He became royal chronicler, which gave him access to numerous libraries throughout Spain, in which he discovered rare Spanish books dating from the Middle Ages. These were important for his La historia de la nobleza de Andaluzia, only the first part of which was published (1588). Among other things, this includes histories of Seville, Ubeda and Baeza and a genealogy of Argote de Molina’s family. Argote de Molina was also Veinticuatro of Seville, a commissioner of the Inquisition and first Provincial de la Santa Hermandad. In addition he was a member of the circle of humanists and writers around the Duques de Gelves in their villa, called La Merlina. His marriage to the daughter of the Marqués of Lanzarote obliged him to move to that island, and on the death of his wife he settled in Gran Canaria. His humanist interests led him to create a private museum in his home, a typical example of a 16th-century collection of art and exotic objects, a ...


Baglioni family  

Christopher F. Black


Italian family of patrons. The Baglioni are notorious in Renaissance historiography for their often violent attempts to dominate Perugia. The family network, which numbered 28 separate households in 1511, provided political strength until in-fighting brought destruction. Military and political service to the papacy secured the family feudal tenure or governorships of lesser Umbrian towns, such as Bettona, Spello and Torgiano, where they constructed palaces. Besides helping to promote major civic projects in Perugia, such as the cathedral of S Lorenzo (1440s) and the Collegio del Cambio (1452–7, with a sala dell’udienza richly decorated with frescoes by Perugino and pupils), the Baglioni furthered the careers of many artists, including Benedetto Bonfigli, Pinturicchio, Pordenone, Luca Signorelli and Perugino.

The most culturally active patron was Braccio di Malatesta (1419–79). The extensive exterior and interior decorations of his palace (destr. 1540) celebrated famous soldiers and lawyers and his own exploits. ...



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, ...



John Law

Italian family of statesmen and patrons. The early history of the Barbarigo is obscure, although it is possible that they emigrated from the Trieste region and settled in Venice in the 8th or 9th century ad. The growth of their prominence is indicated by their entry into the hereditary nobility from the 13th century. One of the several branches of the clan was established in the Venetian colony of Crete in the 14th century. Members of the clan followed various careers and enjoyed differing degrees of wealth and political standing; one of the better documented is Andrea Barbarigo (b Venice, 1399; d Venice, 1449). He began a mercantile career in 1418 with modest assets, owing to his father’s financial ruin, but amassed a respectable fortune through family connections, minor offices and an assiduous attention to business. At its peak his commercial activity stretched from Alexandria to London.

The brothers ...


Barbaro family  

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 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 ...


Este, Beatrice d’, Duchess of Milan  

Gordon Marshall Beamish

(b Naples, June 29, 1475; d Milan, Jan 2, 1497).

Italian ruler, patron and collector, daughter of Ercole I d’Este. In 1491 she married Ludovico Sforza (‘il Moro’), Duke of Milan. Her forceful and resolute personality was astutely expressed through an affable approach to peers and employees, and was manifest in the splendour of her clothes and jewels and in the numerous poets and musicians of her court. Her support for the applied arts included the commissioning of superb musical instruments from Atalante Migliorotti and Lorenzo Gusnasco di Pavia. Especially noteworthy is the clavichord made by the latter in 1494. This was coveted, and eventually acquired, by Isabella d’Este after Beatrice’s death. As far as the fine arts are concerned, Gian Cristoforo Romano made a marble bust of her (1490; Paris, Louvre), as strikingly objective as that he created in terracotta of Francesco II Gonzaga (c. 1498; Mantua, Pal. Ducale). Both Beatrice and Ludovico were enthusiasts for the theatre and had one built in Milan, providing employment for courtiers, writers and scenographers. After Beatrice’s death, ...