Alessandro Farnese (cardinal)

Alessandro Farnese (cardinal)

Alessandro Cardinal Farnese (5 October 1520–2 March 1589) was an Italian cardinal and diplomat, a great collector and patron of the arts. He was the grandson of Pope Paul III (who also bore the name "Alessandro Farnese"), and the son of Pier Luigi Farnese, Duke of Parma who was murdered in 1547. [Giovanna R. Solari and Frederic Tuten, "The House of Farnese" (New York: Doubleday) 1968; Clare Robertson, "Il Gran Cardinale": Alessandro Farnese, Patron of the Arts" (New Haven: Yale University Press) 1992]


Born at Valentano (current province of Viterbo), he studied at Bologna, and was appointed administrator of the Diocese of Parma. On 18 December 1534 he was appointed Cardinal Deacon of the Title of Sant'Angelo by Paul III. The "Gran Cardinale" received many other offices and benefices, becoming Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, Governor of Tivoli, Archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica, Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, Administrator of Jaen, Spain, of Vizeu, Portugal, of WürzburgFact|date=September 2008, Germany and of Avignon, France. In 1536 he became Bishop of Monreale, Sicily, and in 1552 he founded a Jesuit college there. He became Bishop of Massa in 1538, Archbishop of Tours in 1553, and Bishop of Cahors; Archbishop of Benevento, and Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia and Velletri and Dean of the College of Cardinals in 1580. He also became a Papal Legate, arranging peace between the perpetually warring Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Francis I of France. In 1546 he accompanied the troops sent by the pope to the aid of Charles V against the Schmalkaldic League. In 1580, he was the unsuccessful candidate for the papacy. Among the buildings that Cardinal Farnese built or restored are the Church of the Gesù in Rome, the Villa Farnese at Caprarola, and the Farnese palace near Lake Bracciano, and the monastery Tre Fontane.

Alessandro Farnese is remembered for assembling the greatest collection of Roman sculpture assembled in private hands since Antiquity, now mostly in Naples, after passing by inheritance to the Bourbon-Parma kings. [It ranked with the papal collections, in the Cortile del Belvedere and the city's collection housed at the Campidoglio.] His generousity towards artists made a virtual academy [Christina Riebesell, "Die Sammlung des Kardinal Farnese: ein "studio" fur Kunstler und Gelehrte" (Weinheim:VCH, Acta Humaniora) 1989 ] at the power house he built at Caprarola and in his lodgings at Palazzo della Cancellaria and, after his brother Cardinal Ranuccio Farnese died in 1565, at the Palazzo Farnese. In the Palazzo Farnese the best sculptors worked under his eye, to restore fragments of antiquities as complete sculptures, with great scholarly care. He was also a great patron of living artists. Under the direction of his curator and librarian, the antiquarian iconographer Fulvio Orsini, the Farnese collections were enlarged and systematised. Farnese collected ancient coins and commissioned modern medals. He had paintings by Titian, Michelangelo, and Raphael, and an important collection of drawings. He commissioned the masterpiece of Giulio Clovio, arguably the last major illuminated manuscript, the "Farnese Hours," which was completed in 1546 after being nine years in the making (now Morgan Library, New York). The studiolo built to house this collection appears to be the one reerected at the Musée de la Renaissance, Ecouen. [The identification was convincingly made by Riebesell 1989.] The Cardinal's only daughter, Clelia, married firstly Giangiorgio Cesarini, marchese of Civitanova, and secondly Marco Pio di Savoia, Lord of Sassuolo.

Farnese was buried before the high altar in the Church of Gesù.

ee also

*Onofrio Panvinio
*Papal conclave, 1549-1550


External links

* [ Biography]

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