‘Translating, Fashioning, Meaning: the Patronage of Girolamo Basso (1435? – 1507) and Domenico della Rovere (1442 – 1501) between Turin, Savona, Loreto and Rome’
Matteo Chirumbolo | Dottorando
Luca Signorelli: Sacristy of St John (detail of the ceiling), 1485 ca., fresco. Loreto, Basilica della Santa Casa
The doctoral project focuses on the patronage of cardinals Domenico della Rovere (1442-1501) and Girolamo Basso della Rovere (1435? – 1507), bringing together commissions in different media, from architecture to sculpture, painting and manuscript illumination. These commissions are scattered across municipalities in Quattrocento Italy which were characterised by diverse visual and material cultures: Turin, a city at the crossroads between the peninsula and the north of the Alps, which was yet to become the seat of Savoy power; Savona, an independent city-state whose artistic panorama was blossoming thanks to the rise to power of the della Rovere family; Loreto, a small village wholly characterised by the pilgrimage site of the Sanctuary of the Santa Casa; and Rome, one of the fastest-growing centres of the Italian Renaissance. Such unique geography of patronage reflects the cardinals' divided loyalty between their birthplaces in the north of Italy, the seat of their ecclesiastic careers in Rome, and their respective bishoprics. The thesis focuses on how the cardinals exerted their agency through the appointment of secretaries and representatives; in turn, it seeks to define how such agency is testified visually in their commissions. Through the analysis of the patrons' networks, and of the interaction between travelling masters, local artists and masons, the thesis asks questions about the meaning and translation of style, problematising scholarly notions of 'centre' and 'periphery'.