Patronage and Dynasty: The Rise of the della Rovere in Renaissance Italy Image
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    ISBN : 9781931112604

    March 2007

    240 pp.


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    ISBN : 9781935503583

    April 2014

Patronage and Dynasty

The Rise of the della Rovere in Renaissance Italy

Ian F. Verstegen, ed.

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.

You may also like Federico Barocci and the Oratorians.

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.

Renaissance Quarterly

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.

Book News

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

Part II—Ecclesiastics

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
     Ian Verstegen

Part III—Signore

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
     Ian Verstegen
Duke Guidobaldo II della Rovere, Federico Barocci, and the Taste for Titian at the Court of Urbino
     Jeffrey Fontana
Francesco Maria della Rovere and Federico Barocci: Some Notes on Distinctive Strategies in Patronage and the Position of the Artist at Court
     Stuart Lingo

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 currently the Associate Director of Visual Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Visit Ian's website at