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Portraits of Cardinals in Fifteenth-Century Florence

Thu, March 22, 9:00 to 10:30am, Hilton Riverside, 3rd Level - Magazine Room

Abstract

Although the city of Florence lacked a cardinal for most of the fifteenth century, the city was not lacking in cardinal portraits during the same period. This paper examines two different portraits by Florentines of cardinals in the Quattrocento. In a visual portrait from the first half of the century, the painter Bicci di Lorenzo depicted the consecration of the Florentine church Sant'Egidio by pope Martin V. Within the fresco Bicci surrounded the pope with cardinals, whom Vasari claimed were painted from life. Several decades later, the Florentine bookseller Vespasiano da Bisticci wrote over a dozen short biographies of cardinals, many of whom he had known personally through his bookshop. This paper will compare these visual and literary portraits of cardinals across these two works. It will also examine the social and political contexts into which both the visual and literary depictions fit.

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