Italy's Renaissance 09: Rome and the Papal States
In the latter half of the 15th century, the seat of the Italian Renaissance moved from Florence to Rome. Because the Papacy wanted to surpass the grandeur of other Italian cities, the popes built increasingly extravagant churches, bridges, town squares, and public spaces, including a new Saint Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, Ponte Sisto (the first bridge to be built across the Tiber since antiquity), and Piazza Navona.
Rome became a center of Renaissance culture in duing this period, and its Pope-Kings were important patrons of the arts.
Two Quiz Questions included!
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Rome and the Papal States
1) Examine how Rome became the seat of the Italian Renaissance.
2) Explore the influence of the Popes as patrons of the arts.
1) The Renaissance began in Rome during the papacy of Nicholas V, who became Pontiff on March 19, 1447. The patronage of arts and culture was important to successive Popes.
2) As its status as a cultural center in the Renaissance grew, Rome's role as a religious center diminished.
3) Sixtus IV was considered the first Pope-King of Rome and was a great patron of the arts in that city.
4) The most notable architectural achievement of Sixtus IV's papacy was the Sistine Chapel.
5) Raphael became the most famous painter in Italy during his time at Rome.
St. Peter's Basillica
Michelangelo designed the dome of St. Peter's Basilica on or before 1564, though it remained unfinished at the time of his death.
Photo Courtesy Wolfgang Stuck
Public Domain Image
patron An influential, wealthy person who supports an artist, craftsman, scholar, or aristocrat.
humanism Specifically, a cultural and intellectual movement in fourteenth to sixteenth century Europe characterized by attention to classical culture and a promotion of vernacular texts, notably during the Renaissance.
fresco In painting, the technique of applying water-based pigment to wet or fresh lime mortar or plaster.
The Dawning Dominance of Rome
In the latter half of the 15th century, the seat of the Italian Renaissance moved from Florence to Rome. Because the Papacy wanted to surpass the grandeur
of other Italian cities, the popes built increasingly extravagant churches, bridges, town squares, and public spaces, including a new Saint Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, Ponte Sisto (the first bridge to be built across the Tiber since antiquity), and the Piazza Navona.
The Renaissance began in Rome under Pope Nicholas V, who was elected Pontiff on March 19, 1447. His ascension heralded a period during which the city became the center of humanism.
He was the first Pope to embellish the Roman court with scholars and artists, including Lorenzo Valla and Vespasiano da Bisticci.
He and subsequent popes engaged artists like Michelangelo, Perugino, Raphael, Ghirlandaio, Luca Signorelli, Botticelli, and Cosimo Rosselli. The Renaissance would have a great impact on Rome's appearance: the city was enhanced and filled with works like the Pietà by Michelangelo, and the frescoes of the Borgia Apartments, (a suite of rooms in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican) by Bernardino di Betto (Pinturicchio), all which were made during the latter half of the 15th century.
The Pietà is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
The statue was commissioned for the French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères, who was a representative in Rome. The sculpture, in Carrara marble, was made for the cardinal's funeral monument, but was moved to its current location in the 18th century. It is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed.
This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. The theme is of Northern origin, popular by that time in France but not yet in Italy. Michelangelo's interpretation of the Pietà is unprecedented in Italian sculpture. It is an important work as it balances the Renaissance ideals of classical beauty with naturalism.
Image Courtesy Stanislav Traykov
Sixtus IV, Julius II, Leo X and Clement VII
Sixtus IV is considered the first Pope-King of Rome. A true patron of the arts, he reopened the Roman Academy, and in 1471 began the construction of the Vatican Library,
officially founded on June 15, 1475. Sixtus restored several churches, including Santa Maria del Popolo, the Aqua Virgo, and the Hospital of the Holy Spirit.
His main accomplishment as pope was the creation of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Palace. Its designers included some of the most renowned artists of the age, including Mino da Fiesole, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pietro Perugino, Luca Signorelli, and Pinturicchio.
In the 16th century, at the behest of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo decorated the ceiling with his most famous masterpiece, contributing to one of the most famous monuments of the world. Central to the ceiling decoration are nine scenes from the Book of Genesis of which The Creation of Adam is the best known, having an iconic standing.
Creation of Adam, Sistine Chapel
It illustrates the Biblical creation narrative from the Book of Genesis in which God breathes life into Adam, the first man.
Michelangelo worked on the ceiling from 1508-1512.
Public Domain Image
The Heights of Splendor
Rome reached the highest point of its splendor under Pope Julius II (1503–1513) and his successors Leo X and Clement VII, both members of the Medici family.
Pope Julius II was a patron of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bramante. It was during this twenty-year period that Rome would become the greatest center of art in the world. The former St. Peter's Basilica was demolished and the construction of a new one begun.
The city hosted artists like Bramante, who built the The Tempietto, or Temple of San Pietro, a sanctuary that allegedly marks the spot where Peter was crucified.
Increasingly a Secular-Humanist City
Raphael, who became the most famous painter not just in Rome but in all Italy, created frescoes
in the Cappella Niccolina (a chapel in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City), the Villa Farnesina, the Raphael Rooms (the public part of the papal apartments in the Palace of the Vatican), as well as many others.
Rome lost some part its religious character over time, becoming increasingly a secular-humanist Renaissance city. It hosted a great number of popular feasts, horse races, parties, intrigues, and licentious episodes. The presence of several Tuscan bankers, including Raphael's friend Agostino Chigi, helped bolster the prosperous economy. Chigi, "indisputably the richest man in Rome", also became a rich patron of art and literature, and his Venetian mistress Francesca Ordeaschi was the toast of Rome.
Which of the following was NOT a pope during the Italian Renaissance?
A Pius IX
B Sixtus IV
C Julius II
D Nicholas V
Pope Julius II was a patron of which artist?
D All of the above
Question 1: A Pius IX
Question 2: D All of the above
Originally posted to Boundless
Pictures, Titles and Text Added