The artistic patronage of the cardinals of Pope Pius II (1458-64)
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This dissertation evaluates the patronage of the cardinals - not the popes - in early Renaissance Rome. It concentrates on the watershed papacy of Pius II (1458-64), which was shaped by two major events: the Conciliar debates and the capture of Constantinople by the Turks. The cardinals had been influential in the Councils of Basle and Constance, and held the power to elect the pope. The Turkish overrun of the east arguably coloured the papacy as much as the Conciliar debate forcing the Church to reassess its significance. Thus the cardinals' standing was high but potentially unstable, for their role lacked theological justification. Artistic patronage could lend the cardinals the prestige they required, and Pius found they were an essential resource for the restoration of Rome after a century of neglect. Pius II used the cardinals in a new way. They were his agents in diplomatic negotiations and they were often created by him to curry favour on the European political stage. Their artistic patronage in Rome reflected the growing confidence of the papacy. Pius II himself made only a limited contribution to Rome's restoration, but study of the cardinals' patronage reveals very extensive renewal of the city.The five chapters of this dissertation examine: Pius II's dependence on the College of Cardinals; the relationships the cardinals had with Rome; the tombs of the cardinals and the events surrounding their deaths; five case studies of individual cardinals' patronage; the nature of the artistic developments in the city at the time.There follows an appendix of documents, including a previously unpublished will of Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini. One hundred and fifty images of manuscripts, buildings, sculpture and painting illustrate the text. These also serve as a visual narrative of the artistic patronage of the cardinals at the time of Pope Pius II.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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