Leoni never made a formal set of plates of princes and aristocrats to match the sets of Writers and Artists, although the elaborate printed frame around the portrait of the Duke of Bracciano suggests that this may have been the first in an intended series.

Paolo Giordano II, Duke of Bracciano

Image["Object Number P.7926-R"]

Engraving, c.1625

Paolo Orsini (1591-1656) was brought up in the Medici Court in Florence, and became Duke of Bracciano in 1615. After marrying Isabella Appiani in 1621, he set about adorning the castle at Lake Bracciano outside Rome with antiquities and art, and commissioning a series of portraits from leading artists to do justice to his reputation as a conspicuously brilliant Roman prince. His likeness here is much as it appears in the portrait busts of 1623-4 by his friend Bernini. Paolo's attributes were also praised in poems by Stigliani and Marino. He not only supported and befriended leading virtuosi, but was himself an artist, musician and published poet.

This is the second of two plates that Leoni engraved with the Duke's portrait (the other is illustrated below). Leoni also made a drawing of Paolo's younger brother Alessandro, who entered the church and was created a cardinal.

Given by John Charrington 1933


Paolo Giordano II Orsini, Duke of Bracciano

Image["Object Number P.7927-R"]

Engraving, c.1623

Printed from the earlier of the two plates that Leoni engraved of the Duke: the later plate is illustrated above. This portrait is close to the earliest of Leoni's known drawings of him (Louvre, Paris), dated 1620, although the quiff and the apparent age look closer to the drawing dated January 1624 ('La Colombaria', Florence; a variant is in the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro). The engraving style is perhaps most similar to plates that Leoni dated 1623. In June of that year the Duke paid Leoni for his portrait, but it is not clear which work that was.

Given by John Charrington 1933


Image["Object Number P.7928-R"]

The Fitzwilliam Museum owns impressions of two different states printed from this plate: this second impression was printed after Leoni had engraved additional shading and made alterations to the hair and beard.

Given by John Charrington 1933


Don Antonio Barberini

Image["Object Number P.7920-R"]

Engraving, 1625

Antonio Barberini (1607-1671) was the younger brother of Francesco Barberini. This portrait was made three years before he was made cardinal at the astonishingly early age of 20 by Pope Urban VIII, in a blatant case of nepotism. By that date the new Palazzo Barberini was being built. Antonio was to make it the centre of Roman theatrical life, mounting numerous operas with scenery by leading artists who had worked on the palace, including Bernini, Pietra da Cortona and Andrea Sacchi, usually with imagery promoting the Barberini family. He also mounted operas at the Teatro della Quattro Fontane, which was commissioned by the Barberini brothers.

Antonio cut a dash in Roman society, and his private life, with lovers of both sexes, caused much gossip.

Given by John Charrington 1933


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The Fitzwilliam Museum : Princes

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