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Francesco Barberini (seniore)

Francesco Barberini (seniore)

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Francesco Barberini was an Italian Catholic Cardinal. The nephew of Pope Urban VIII (reigned 1623–1644), he benefited immensely from the nepotism practiced by his uncle. He was given various roles within the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 administration but his personal cultural interests, particularly in literature and the arts, meant that he became a highly significant patron. His secretary was the antiquarian Cassiano dal Pozzo
Cassiano dal Pozzo
Cassiano dal Pozzo was an Italian scholar and patron of arts. The secretary of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, he was an antiquary in the classicizing circle of Rome, and a long-term friend and patron of Nicolas Poussin, whom he supported from his earliest arrival in Rome: Poussin in a letter...

 who was also a discerning patron of the arts. Francesco was the elder brother of Cardinal Antonio Barberini
Antonio Barberini
Antonio Barberini was an Italian Catholic cardinal, Archbishop of Reims, military leader, patron of the arts and a prominent member of the House of Barberini. As one of the cardinal-nephews of Pope Urban VIII and a supporter of France, he played a significant role at a number of the papal...

 and Taddeo Barberini
Taddeo Barberini
Taddeo Barberini was an Italian nobleman of the House of Barberini who became Prince of Palestrina and Gonfalonier of the Church; commander of the Papal Army. He was a nephew of Pope Urban VIII and brother of Cardinals Francesco Barberini and Antonio Barberini...

 who became Prince of Palestrina
Palestrina
Palestrina is an ancient city and comune with a population of about 18,000, in Lazio, c. 35 km east of Rome...

.

Career


He was born in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 to Carlo Barberini and Costanza Magalotti, and studied at the University of Pisa
University of Pisa
The University of Pisa , located in Pisa, Tuscany, is one of the oldest universities in Italy. It was formally founded on September 3, 1343 by an edict of Pope Clement VI, although there had been lectures on law in Pisa since the 11th century...

 where he was assisted by family friend Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei , was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism...

, graduating in canon and civil law in 1623. On 2 October the same year, his uncle, Maffeo Barberini, newly elected as Pope Urban VIII, made him a cardinal, state secretary and papal legate
Papal legate
A papal legate – from the Latin, authentic Roman title Legatus – is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic Faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters....

 to Avignon
Avignon
Avignon is a French commune in southeastern France in the départment of the Vaucluse bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 94,787 inhabitants of the city on 1 January 2010, 12 000 live in the ancient town centre surrounded by its medieval ramparts.Often referred to as the...

 when he was twenty six years old. He held the latter position until 1633. In 1625, he went to Paris as special legate and from March to September, undertook various negotiations with Cardinal Richelieu  including discussions in advance of the Treaty of Monçon
Treaty of Monçon
The Treaty of Monçon or Treaty of Monzón was signed on 5 March 1626 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister of Louis XIII and Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares, the chief minister of Philip IV of Spain, at Monçon in Aragon...

. Overall, the negotiations were not a political success for the papacy but as a ‘sweetener’ he received a gift of six tapestries from King Louis XIII, designed by Peter Paul Rubens. In 1625 he travelled to Spain as papal legate and this mission was also unsuccessful. He returned to Rome the following year. From 1628 he effectively led the foreign diplomacy of the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

, showing a clear stance favoring France in the war of succession for the Marquisate of Montferrat and during the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

. In 1632 he was appointed papal Vice-Chancellor.

As the Grand Inquisitor
Grand Inquisitor
Grand Inquisitor is the lead official of an Inquisition. The most famous Inquisitor General is the Spanish Dominican Tomás de Torquemada, who spearheaded the Spanish Inquisition.-List of Spanish Grand Inquisitors:-Castile:-Aragon:...

 of the Roman Inquisition
Roman Inquisition
The Roman Inquisition was a system of tribunals developed by the Holy See during the second half of the 16th century, responsible for prosecuting individuals accused of a wide array of crimes related to heresy, including Protestantism, sorcery, immorality, blasphemy, Judaizing and witchcraft, as...

, a post he held from 1633 until his death, he was part of the Inquisition tribunal investigating Galileo
Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei , was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism...

; he was one of three members of the tribunal who refused to condemn Galileo.

Hostilities between the papacy and the Farnese Duchy of Parma and Piacenza resulted in the War of Castro in 1641, from which the papacy did not emerge well, and peace was only concluded months before the death of Urban in 1644. Once it had become clear that the Barberini candidate for his successor, Cardinal Giulio Sacchetti, was not going to be elected by the papal conclave, Francesco and Antonio Barberini
Antonio Barberini
Antonio Barberini was an Italian Catholic cardinal, Archbishop of Reims, military leader, patron of the arts and a prominent member of the House of Barberini. As one of the cardinal-nephews of Pope Urban VIII and a supporter of France, he played a significant role at a number of the papal...

 switched their vote to support Giovanni Battista Pamphili in the hope that he might look more favorably upon them. They were wrong. Pamphili, who took the name of Innocent X
Pope Innocent X
Pope Innocent X , born Giovanni Battista Pamphilj , was Pope from 1644 to 1655. Born in Rome of a family from Gubbio in Umbria who had come to Rome during the pontificate of Pope Innocent IX, he graduated from the Collegio Romano and followed a conventional cursus honorum, following his uncle...

 (1644–1655) instigated investigation into their handling of the finances in the War of Castro forcing first Antonio to flee to Paris in 1645, to be followed by Francesco and his brother Taddeo Barberini
Taddeo Barberini
Taddeo Barberini was an Italian nobleman of the House of Barberini who became Prince of Palestrina and Gonfalonier of the Church; commander of the Papal Army. He was a nephew of Pope Urban VIII and brother of Cardinals Francesco Barberini and Antonio Barberini...

 in 1646. Here they remained under the protection of Cardinal Mazarin. Two years later, Francesco was pardoned by the pope who restored confiscated properties to him.

On his return to Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, Francesco resumed his role as a patron of arts although on a reduced scale. In 1666 he became Dean of the College of Cardinals
Dean of the College of Cardinals
The Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals is the president of the College of Cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church, and as such always holds the rank of Cardinal Bishop. The Dean is not necessarily the longest-serving member of the whole College...

, taking part in the conclaves
Papal conclave
A papal conclave is a meeting of the College of Cardinals convened to elect a Bishop of Rome, who then becomes the Pope during a period of vacancy in the papal office. The Pope is considered by Roman Catholics to be the apostolic successor of Saint Peter and earthly head of the Roman Catholic Church...

 of 1667
Papal conclave, 1667
The Papal conclave, 1667 to determine the successor to the departed Pope Alexander VII resulted in the election of cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi, who took the name of Clement IX.-Divisions among cardinals:...

, 1669-1670 and 1676
Papal conclave, 1676
The Papal Conclave of 1676 was convened after the death of Pope Clement X and lasted from 2 August until 21 September of 1676. It led to the election of Benedetto Odescalchi as Pope Innocent XI.-History:...

. He died in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 in 1679 at the age of eighty two.

Patronage


Francesco Barberini was active as a patron of the arts both as a private patron and within broader spheres. In 1623 he became a member of the Conregazione della Reverenda Fabbrica di San Pietro and was able to secure altarpiece commissions for St Peter’s by artists such as Giovanni Lanfranco
Giovanni Lanfranco
Giovanni Lanfranco was an Italian painter of the Baroque period.-Biography:Giovanni Gaspare Lanfranco was born in Parma, the third son of Stefano and Cornelia Lanfranchi, and was placed as a page in the household of Count Orazio Scotti...

, Andrea Sacchi
Andrea Sacchi
Andrea Sacchi was an Italian painter of High Baroque Classicism, active in Rome. A generation of artists who shared his style of art include the painters Nicolas Poussin and Giovanni Battista Passeri, the sculptors Alessandro Algardi and François Duquesnoy, and the contemporary biographer Giovanni...

, Pietro da Cortona, Nicholas Poussin, Simon Vouet
Simon Vouet
Simon Vouet was a French painter and draftsman, who today is perhaps best remembered for helping to introduce the Italian Baroque style of painting to France.-Life:...

 and Valentin
Valentin
Valentin is a masculine given name. It comes from the Latin name Valentinus. Valentín is a Spanish form of Valentinus. Valentin or Valentín may refer to:*The Nazi Germany code name for the Valentin submarine pens*Valentín, a 2002 Argentine film...

. Privately, he bought several paintings by Poussin during the artist's early years in Rome.

In 1625, he acquired the Sforza palace on the Quirinal Hill in Rome and a year later gave it to his brother Taddeo. After buying further land around the palace, the architect Carlo Maderno
Carlo Maderno
Carlo Maderno was a Swiss-Italian architect, born in Ticino, who is remembered as one of the fathers of Baroque architecture. His façades of Santa Susanna, St. Peter's Basilica and Sant'Andrea della Valle were of key importance in the evolution of the Italian Baroque...

 was engaged to transform the site into a much larger and grander palace which became the Palazzo Barberini
Palazzo Barberini
Palazzo Barberini is a palace in Rome, facing the piazza of the same name in Rione Trevi and is home to the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica.-History:...

  and effectively the family palace with Taddeo and his family living in one wing and Francesco in the other. Francesco and Urban were on hand to advise on its decoration. An iconographic programme celebrating the Barberini family, devised by the Tuscan poet Francesco Bracciolini
Francesco Bracciolini
Francesco Bracciolini was an Italian poet.He was born of a noble family in Pistoia in 1566. On his removing to Florence he was admitted into the academy there, and devoted himself to literature. At Rome he entered the service of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, with whom he afterwards went to France...

 for the vast coved vault of the main salone, was carried out by Pietro da Cortona in an exuberant display of illusionism, colour, movement and ornamentation that marked a new departure for secular Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 interior decoration.

Also at the Palazzo Barberini, Francesco established the Arazzia Barberini or Barberini Tapestry works in 1627 which remained open until 1638, Its production included six tapestries designed by Cortona on the theme of the ‘Story of Constantine’ to complement those the Cardinal had received from the French king in 1625, designed by Rubens. With Cortona busy with the Barberini vault, Francesco began to engage Cortona’s pupil Giovan Francesco Romanelli to carry out other paintings and altarpieces, and also made him Supervisor of the Tapestry works

He founded a rich library at the Palazzo Barberini which included ancient Greek and Roman manuscripts, and he supported numerous European intellectuals, scholars, scientists and artists, including Jean Morin, Gabriel Naudé
Gabriel Naudé
Gabriel Naudé was a French librarian and scholar. He was a prolific writer who produced works on many subjects including politics, religion, history and the supernatural. An influential work on library science was the 1627 book Advice on Establishing a Library...

, Gerhard Johann Vossius, Heinsius
Heinsius
Heinsius may be*Anthonie Heinsius, statesman*Daniel Heinsius, poet*Johann Samuel Heinsius, bookseller and publisher*Nikolaes Heinsius, classical scholar and Latin poet...

and John Milton
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

. Also at the Palazzo Barberini, he initiated a small natural science museum and botanical garden and his collections attested to his interests in ancient sculpture, numismatics and inscriptions. The Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis
Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis
The Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis is an Aztec herbal manuscript, describing the medicinal properties of various plants used by the Aztecs...

, sometimes referred to as the Codex Barberini, was named in his honour.

Cardinal Francesco Barberini contributed financially to churches in Rome. As protector of the Academy of Saint Luke, the artists guild in Rome, he dedicated funds for the construction of the Academy's church of Santi Luca e Martina
Santi Luca e Martina
Santi Luca e Martina is a church in Rome, Italy, situated between the Roman Forum and the Forum of Caesar and close to the Arch of Septimus Severus.-History:...

, designed by Cortona. He built the church of San Bonaventura al Palatino, rebuilt San Giacomo alla Lungara and San Salvatore in Campo, restored the church of Santa Maria in Palmis (also called Domine Quo Vadis) and San Sebastiano al Palatino
San Sebastiano al Palatino
San Sebastiano al Palatino is a basilica church in Rome. It is devoted to Saint Sebastian, and is located on the Palatine Hill.According to legend, it is built on the site of its dedicatee's martyrdom, with the first church constructed in the 10th century, and the second church being the result of...

, had the choir of San Lorenzo in Damaso
San Lorenzo in Damaso
San Lorenzo in Damaso is a basilica church in Rome, Italy, one of several dedicated to the Roman deacon and martyr Saint Lawrence...

 remodelled, and paid for the wooden ceiling of Sant'Agata dei Goti
Sant'Agata dei Goti
Sant'Agata dei Goti is a church in Rome, Italy, dedicated to the martyr Saint Agatha. It is currently the titular church assigned to Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, currently Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.-History:...

. Although initially he made funds available for the construction of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane
San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane
The Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains is a Roman Catholic church in Rome, Italy. Designed by the architect Francesco Borromini, it was his first independent commission. It is an iconic masterpiece of Baroque architecture, built as part of a complex of monastic buildings on the Quirinal...

 designed by Francesco Borromini
Francesco Borromini
Francesco Borromini, byname of Francesco Castelli was an architect from Ticino who, with his contemporaries, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Pietro da Cortona, was a leading figure in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture.A keen student of the architecture of Michelangelo and the ruins of...

, these were not sustained. He also commissioned various monuments for church interiors, including ones to G. Aleandro and B. Guglielmi who had been his teachers, in San Lorenzo fuori le Mura
San Lorenzo fuori le Mura
The Papal Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls is a Roman Catholic parish church and minor basilica, located in Rome, Italy. The basilica is one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome and one of the five Patriarchal basilicas, each of which is assigned to a patriarchate. St...

and designed by Cortona).

Further Reading

  • Kelly Gottardo, 'Cardinal Francesco Barberini and the Specula Pricipum Tradition,' Print Quarterly, XXVIII, 2011, pp. 292-97

External links