Pope and Cardinals

Leoni's portraits prints of clerics are in a miscellany of formats and were never intended as a consistent set to match the sets of Writers and Artists. In his will, Leoni left the printing plates for these portraits to his wife Caterina.

Pope Urban VIII

Image["Pope Urban VIII"]

Red and black chalk heightened with white on blue paper, c.1625

Maffeo Barberini (1568-1644) was born in Florence and was called to Rome at the age of 16 by his uncle Francesco, who held posts in the papal court, and whose considerable fortune Maffeo inherited in 1600. He was created cardinal-priest in 1606 and elected pope as Urban VIII on 6 August 1623.

This drawing lacks Leoni's usual inscription of date and number. The slightly generalised modelling of the features suggests that it could be a varied repetition of another drawing, although it may have been made directly in connection with Leoni's engraving of Urban VIII made in 1625. Both show the Pope younger and in ruder health than in Leoni's later drawing of him, dated December 1629 (British Museum, London).

From the collection of The Master, Fellows, and Scholars of Downing College in the University of Cambridge

Pope Urban VIII

Image["Object Number P.7945-R"]

Engraving, 1625

Based on Leoni's drawing of Urban VIII in Downing College, or on a similar drawing, this print shows Urban VIII (Maffeo Barberini) early in his papacy, a year after the rather stiffer engraved portrait by Claude Mellan based on a painting by Simon Vouet.

In his time as papal legate to France, Urban had observed the advantage of royal patronage of the arts, and his own intellectually and aesthetically astute programme of patronage helped to shape Baroque Rome, and fill it with Barberini symbolism and power. The most powerful images of Urban came from the hand of the young sculptor Bernini, who had begun his transformational work on St Peter's in 1623. Less flatteringly, Urban is remembered for his flagrant nepotism in appointing members of his family as Cardinals (notably his exceptionally young nephew Antonio) and for failing to protect his former friend Galileo from the Inquisition.

Given by John Charrington 1933


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Cardinal Antonio Barberini

Image["Object Number P.7921-R"]

Engraving, 1627

Antonio Marcello Barberini (1569-1646) was younger brother of Urban VIII. He entered the order of Capuchins in 1585 and served as priest until his brother elevated him to cardinal on 7 October 1624, the second Barberini to benefit from Urban's nepotism. Antonio acted as Urban's Secretary of State in the absence of nephew Francesco.

The inscription on the print records Antonio's position as Cardinal Priest of the church of S. Onofrio al Gianicolo, which he assumed on 13 November 1624. Later that month Leoni made the drawing on which this engraving is based (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). Although he had later positions (he was secretary of the Inquisition in the period before Galileo's trial in 1633), he remained known as 'Cardinal S. Onofrio'.

Given by John Charrington 1933


Cardinal Francesco Barberini

Image["Object Number P.7922-R"]

Engraving, 1624

Francesco Barberini (1597-1679) was created cardinal in 1623 by his uncle Urban VIII, serving as Cardinal-Nephew (like prime minister). A notable patron, he was at the centre of a group of antiquarians and poets, founding a literary academy at the Palazzo Barberini that was the source for the iconography and poetic allusion in the Palace's decorations. He was one of three members of the Inquisition tribunal who refused to condemn Galileo, an old friend, in 1633.

This engraving is based on a drawing dated September 1624 (British Museum, London), which also served as a model for a painting (private collection, Rome).

Given by John Charrington 1933


Image["Object Number P.7923-R"]

The Fitzwilliam Museum also owns an impression of this portrait printed on satinised silk, which might be done for a few presentation impressions for the sitter's use.

Given by John Charrington 1933


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Cardinal Maurizio of Savoy

Image["Object Number P.7941-R"]

Engraving, 1627

Maurizio (1593-1657) was made a Cardinal in 1607. He moved to Rome in 1620 and was a key player in the election of Urban VIII in 1623. He established an elegant court in his Roman house, bringing musical theatre from the Turin court, and embarking on lavish patronage of music, literature and the visual arts. In 1625-6 he founded the Accademia dei Desiosi, to debate literary, philosophical and artistic themes. Maurizio resigned his cardinalate in 1642 to marry his niece Louisa, thus securing the Savoy succession.

The inscription on the print records Maurizio's position as Cardinal Deacon of the church of Santa Maria in via Lata, which he assumed in March 1626. In August 1626 Leoni made the drawing on which the engraving is based ('La Colombaria', Florence).

Many of Leoni's plates were reprinted unsatisfactorily after his death. In the case of this plate, a later engraver removed Maurizio's body and grafted a suit of armour to his neck, adding an inscription claiming it to be a portrait of the Duke of Marsi!

Given by John Charrington 1933


Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi


Engraving, 1628

Ludovico Ludovisi (1595-1632) was created Cardinal-Nephew within three days of his uncle Alessandro Ludovisi's election as Pope Gregory XV in 1621. He ran the frail Gregory's affairs and accrued vast wealth. He assembled the finest collection of antique sculpture in Rome, and patronised artists from his native Emilia such as Guercino. He presided over intellectual debate at the Accademia dei Virtuosi, which was distinguished from debate at the more humanist academy of Maurizio of Savoy by its search of scripture for the basis of a new political system.

Leoni had drawn and painted Ludovico's portrait in 1621. After Gregory's death in 1623, Ludovico lost power but kept the position of Vice-Chancellor recorded on this print. This portrait was based on a drawing made in May 1627 ('La Colombaria', Florence).

Given by John Charrington 1933


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Cardinal Alessandro Orsini

Image["Cardinal Orsini"]

Red and black chalk heightened with white on blue paper, March 1624

Alessandro Orsini (1592 -1626) was brought up with his elder brother Paolo Orsini at the Medici court in Florence. He was created cardinal by Pope Paul V in 1615. Alessandro was a patron of Galileo, who in 1616 addressed his work on the tides to him in the form of a letter (Discorso sul flusso e il reflusso del mare), and requested that he passed it on to the Pope as part of an attempt to get the Papacy to allow discussion of the Copernican planetary system.

Alessandro distinguished himself in 1621 with his charity during an epidemic in Ravenna. Returning to Rome he devoted himself to piety and asceticism. Urban VIII refused his plea to be allowed to resign his cardinalate and enter the Society of Jesuits.

From the collection of The Master, Fellows, and Scholars of Downing College in the University of Cambridge

Cardinal Pietro Maria Borghese

Image["Cardinal Giorgio"]

Red and black chalk heightened with white on blue paper, December 1624

Pietro (or Pier) Maria Borghese (1599-1642) was a cousin first-removed of Pope Paul V. His rise resulted from the desire of the new pope Urban VIII to confer a cardinalate on a member of the Borghese family (from whom he had had received his). So when he became cardinal on 7 October 1624 it was with special dispensation for the fact that he had not yet taken sacred orders. He received the deaconry of S. Giorgio in Velabro on 13 November 1624, shortly before Leoni made this drawing, and was known as 'Cardinal S. Giorgio'. He became a member of the Academia dei Desiosi of Cardinal Maurizio.

Pietro Maria later had his portrait painted by Pietro da Cortona (1696-1669), by which time he had filled out.

From the collection of The Master, Fellows, and Scholars of Downing College in the University of Cambridge

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Cardinal Francesco Sforza

Image["Cardinal Sforza"]

Red and black chalk heightened with white on blue paper, March 1621

Francesco Sforza (1562-1624) received a military education under Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma, and later at the court of Francesco I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, whose sister he married. He combined both military and religious careers, serving first as captain general of the military forces in the Low Countries.

He was created cardinal deacon by Pope Gregory XIII in 1583, and brought to his new office his old military spirit: as papal legate in Romagna (1591-7) he rid the territory of bandits by overseeing the death of 800 of them. He crowned Popes Leo IX and Paul V in 1605. By the date of this portrait he was Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati (1620) and had just participated in the sixth of his seven papal enclaves, electing Gregory XV.

From the collection of The Master, Fellows, and Scholars of Downing College in the University of Cambridge

Cardinal Andrea Baroni Peretti Montalto (?)

Image["Cardinal Birretta"]

Red and black chalk heightened with white on blue paper, June 1626

The inscription on the back of this drawing is hard to read, but it may say 'Cardinal Bironi', which accords with the identification of the sitter in Downing College records.

Andrea Baroni Peretti Montalto (1572-1629) was created cardinal in 1596, and participated in the papal enclaves of 1605, 1621 and 1623. He crowned Gregory XV in 1621. When this drawing was made he had just become Bishop of Albano (March 1626).

From the collection of The Master, Fellows, and Scholars of Downing College in the University of Cambridge

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The Fitzwilliam Museum : Pope and Cardinals

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