Patronage and Dynasty
The Rise of the della Rovere in Renaissance Italy
Sixteenth Century Essays & Studies, vol. 77
This collection of essays offers a thorough study of the patron-artist relationship through the lens of one of early modern Italy’s most powerful and influential historical families. Contributors present a longitudinal study of the della Rovere family’s ascent into Italian nobility. The della Rovere family included popes, cardinals, and powerful dukes who financed some of the world’s best-known and greatest artwork. The essays explore the issue of identity and its maintenance, of carving a permanent spot for a family name in a rapidly changing atmosphere.
Although these studies depart from art patronage, they uncover how the popes, cardinals, dukes, and signore of the della Rovere family constituted their identity. Originally a nouveau-riche creation of papal nepotism, the della Rovere first populated the ranks of cardinals under the powerful popes Sixtus IV and Julius II. Within the framework of later papal relations the family negotiated its position within the economy of Italian nobles.
Overall, the book offers a bright palette of historically painted individual art historical studies, which is indeed a many-sided (although in no ways exhaustively rendered) picture of the patronage of the della Rovere.
—Monumenta Germaniae Historica
It is fascinating to see, through the various branches of one family, the breadth and diversity of the types of patronage undertaken.... As such, [the book] does its job well, engaging with current debates on a number of different levels and further extending our understanding of the complexities of Renaissance patronage.
Art historians look at the della Rovere family as a whole—from Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere to Francesco Maria II, last Duke of Urbino—as they faced distinct but not uncommon issues at any given time during the dynasty's two-century floriat.
The various essays collected in Patronage and Dynasty taken together chart the ways this family laid claim to a kind of cultural and enlightened nobility as time went by, carving a niche for itself through patronage of the arts. The book offers a unique and thorough study of the patron-artist relationship as well as insight into how a notable family constituted its identity over time.
Part I—The Beginning — Sixtus IV
The Sistine Chapel, Dynastic Ambition, and the Cultural Patronage of Sixtus IV
Andrew C. Blume
Pope Sixtus IV at Assisi: The Promotion of Papal Power
Jill Elizabeth Blondin
Piety and Public Consumption: Domenico, Girolamo, and Julius II della Rovere at Santa Maria del Popolo
Lisa Passaglia Bauman
Avignon to Rome: The Making of Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere as a Patron of Architecture
Henry Dietrich Fernández
Reform and Renewed Ambition: Cardinal Giulio Feltrio della Rovere
Felice della Rovere and the Castello at Palo
Caroline P. Murphy
The Ecclesiastical Patronage of Isabella Feltria della Rovere: Bricks, Bones, and Brocades
Maria Ann Conelli
Part IV—The Ducal Experience
Francesco Maria and the Duchy of Urbino, between Rome and Venice
Duke Guidobaldo II della Rovere, Federico Barocci, and the Taste for Titian at the Court of Urbino
Francesco Maria della Rovere and Federico Barocci: Some Notes on Distinctive Strategies in Patronage and the Position of the Artist at Court
Ian Verstegen studied art with Rudolf Arnheim at the University of Michigan, which led to studies in experimental psychology at Rutgers University. He received his PhD with Marcia Hall at Temple University. He is now coordinator of University of Georgia’s program in Cortona, Italy.