Piece of papal fresco puzzleBreaking News
The fresco, painted by the early Renaissance artist Pinturicchio (1454-1513) for the Borgia apartments in the Vatican, showed the Borgia pope, Alexander VI, kneeling at the feet of the Madonna and child and cradling the infant Jesus's right foot in his hand.
It was an open secret at the court that the Madonna in the fresco was Giulia Farnese, the 60-year-old pope's beautiful young married mistress, and there was speculation that the baby might have been one of their children.
Alexander VI was notorious for his love of luxury and women -- he openly had four children, including Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia, by his previous mistress, Vanozza Catanei.
When Fabio Chigi, a scholarly and deeply spiritual man, became Pope Alexander VII in 1655 he had the fresco broken up as part of a campaign to obliterate the legacy of his infamous Borgia namesake.
According to Franco Ivan Nucciarelli, an art historian at Italy's Perugia University who has reconstructed the saga of the ''lost fresco'', the portraits of the Madonna and the infant Jesus ended up in the Chigi family collection, over time becoming misattributed to another artist, Perugino.
Professor Nucciarelli said, however, that he had identified them from a contemporary copy of the lost Pinturicchio masterpiece. The fragment depicting the infant was recently bought for an undisclosed sum from the Chigi family by Giuseppe Margaritelli, a Perugia industrialist.
He has donated it to the Guglielmo Giordano Foundation, a museum in the town, where it will go on show this year.
Fabio Isman, art correspondent for Rome newspaper Il Messaggero, said the Chigi family still had the corresponding fragment showing Farnese as the Madonna but apparently did not intend to part with it.
''As for the portrait of the kneeling Borgia pope, its fate is unknown,'' he said.
Claudio Strinati, superintendent of fine arts in Rome, said there was no doubt that the newly discovered work was by Pinturicchio.
Born Bernardino di Betti in Perugia, Pinturicchio assisted Perugino in his frescoes in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel.
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Researchers Find More Women Buried At Stonehenge Than Men
- Tourism spot for Colonial Williamsburg shocks some New Yorkers during Super Bowl 50 for use of 9/11 attack footage
- We asked 6 political scientists if Bernie Sanders would have a shot in a general election
- The price of oil has plummeted and with it Russia’s finances
- Legal scholars at Harvard debate Cruz’s eligibility to serve as president
- Princeton U. historian Imani Perry claims mistreatment in parking ticket arrest
- Retired historian George Dennison remains on the payroll at the U. of Montana while faculty are cut
- The Atlantic profiles exciting ways to teach history
- LDS Church has gone from 0 to 4 historians specializing in women’s history
- American Historical Association protests Turkey’s crackdown on historians and other academics who signed a a petition critical of the Turkish government