In 1563 the still obscure painter Federico Barocci (Urbino 1533-1612) left definitively Rome, retiring in his small hometown and renouncing to a promising career in the world’s leading artistic centre. By 1590, however, he was the most sought-after artist in Europe, adulated by popes, kings and emperors. How? The answer lies in the striking network of personal, diplomatic and political relations established by Barocci’s lord, the Duke of Urbino Francesco Maria II della Rovere. When the economical and military importance of his small state started to decline, the Duke staked on the traditional urbinate excellence in art, sciences and artisanship as mean of international prestige. During the second half of the sixteenth century his mathematicians, military engineers and manifactures become well- known across Europe; when Barocci resettled in Urbino, the Duke started to promote and manage the commissions for his great altarpieces through the State Chancellery, using them as diplomatic favours. In a few years, Barocci got money and fame, and Francesco strengthened his prestige and relations in the major courts of Europe: Rome, Valladolid, Prague, Milan, Florence, Genoa, Lucca. This well-thought gear, reconstructed from the Della Rovere’s diplomatic correspondence, has a striking visual evidence in Barocci’s paintings. Being all set in recognizable urbinate settings (the city, the countryside, the celebrated Ducal Palace) his great altarpieces become a tale of Urbino’s heritage and culture. These images, destined to the most prestigious and visible collocations and soon multiplied through reproductive prints curated by Barocci himself, become the most powerful evidence of the small State’s political links, asserting the Duke’s prestige and (not to be forgotten) providing a strong incentive to Barocci’s international fame. The study tries to open new scenarios in the interpretation of Barocci’s art, focusing on her political, international and diplomatical elements instead of the religious and personal ones. What emerges is a radically different profile of the painter: not only the segregated, visionary interpreter of the Catholic counter Reform, as he is usually presented, but the conscious planner of his own market and european success.

Federico Barocci’s artistic and diplomatic network as visualized in his paintings

Luca Baroni
2017

Abstract

In 1563 the still obscure painter Federico Barocci (Urbino 1533-1612) left definitively Rome, retiring in his small hometown and renouncing to a promising career in the world’s leading artistic centre. By 1590, however, he was the most sought-after artist in Europe, adulated by popes, kings and emperors. How? The answer lies in the striking network of personal, diplomatic and political relations established by Barocci’s lord, the Duke of Urbino Francesco Maria II della Rovere. When the economical and military importance of his small state started to decline, the Duke staked on the traditional urbinate excellence in art, sciences and artisanship as mean of international prestige. During the second half of the sixteenth century his mathematicians, military engineers and manifactures become well- known across Europe; when Barocci resettled in Urbino, the Duke started to promote and manage the commissions for his great altarpieces through the State Chancellery, using them as diplomatic favours. In a few years, Barocci got money and fame, and Francesco strengthened his prestige and relations in the major courts of Europe: Rome, Valladolid, Prague, Milan, Florence, Genoa, Lucca. This well-thought gear, reconstructed from the Della Rovere’s diplomatic correspondence, has a striking visual evidence in Barocci’s paintings. Being all set in recognizable urbinate settings (the city, the countryside, the celebrated Ducal Palace) his great altarpieces become a tale of Urbino’s heritage and culture. These images, destined to the most prestigious and visible collocations and soon multiplied through reproductive prints curated by Barocci himself, become the most powerful evidence of the small State’s political links, asserting the Duke’s prestige and (not to be forgotten) providing a strong incentive to Barocci’s international fame. The study tries to open new scenarios in the interpretation of Barocci’s art, focusing on her political, international and diplomatical elements instead of the religious and personal ones. What emerges is a radically different profile of the painter: not only the segregated, visionary interpreter of the Catholic counter Reform, as he is usually presented, but the conscious planner of his own market and european success.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11384/85312
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