09 Rome in the Renaissance

  Rome as a Renaissance center

  • financial support, large networks for humanists
  • need for rebuilding after schism
  • interest in religious scholarship
  • reassertion of central authority after Schism,

Conciliar Movement

Our time period: from Nicholas V to “Sack of Rome”(1527)

 Rome, its Campagna, the Papal States


Campagna: lords from leading Roman, regional families

farming vs herding

relative underdevelopment

City within Aurelian Walls

Schedel – De Temporis Mundi. Nuremberg 1493. View of Rome

Views of Rome from Vatican Library collections

More Maps of Rome


Clusters of buildings:

basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore, St. John Lateran

Forum: Campo Vaccino; Tarpeian Rock: Monte Caprino

SM Trastevere

Trastevere:  S. Maria in Trastevere


low infrastructure

Renaissance popes: modernizing city

administrative center for Church

respectable place for pilgrims

Old families

civic political structure moribund; replaced by papal bureaucracy

Papal States

taxation and revolts

solutions:  nepotism

Ex: Alexander VI (b. Rodrigo Borgia ca. 1431; pope 1492-1503)

son Cesare: Cardinal; Duke of Romagna 1502. d. 1507

daughter Lucrezia

Papal elections: Italian focus

Popes as regional Italian Leaders (Lodi and after)

cultural patronage

The Gradual Return to Rome

Martin V (Oddone Colonna) (pope 1417- 1431)

Portrait by Pisanello

Eugenius IV (Gabriele Condulmer, Venetian) (1431-47)

  • Troubles in Rome
  • Anti-Colonna moves
  • 1434   to Florence (9 years) with Medici support

Nicholas V (Tommaso Parentucelli) (1447-1455)

Roman Renaissance

Collecting Ex: Nicholas V (1447-55)

expansion of Vatican library

Rome Reborn: Vatican Library exhibit at Library of Congress

Arenas for hiring, cultural patronage

Church as institution: humanists as notaries, secretaries, bureaucrats.

“Papal States” infrastructure

Private households of pope, other clerics, old Roman families

villa building

“learned leisure:” otium

Villa Farnesina (1508-11), Peruzzi


arts; theology


Features of Roman humanist life


Ciceronian oratory

Latin poetry—our example: Brandolini

Life, work inter-relate

building and rebuilding

collecting antiquities; inscriptions; ancient architecture


Augustan Age

Some examples at the papal level

Re-asserting traditional, central role of papacy in Europe


moral, political arbitrator

interest in Portuguese, Spanish explorations.

ex: Treaty of Tordesillas 1494

expanded bureaucracy for better functioning

tension between Church bureaucratic functions, spiritual mission

Revivals and embellishing or traditional religious observance

“Roman stations”


New papal residence: the Vatican

Old SP

Heemskerck drawing: Old St. Peter’s and Vatican Palaces


Piazza S. Pietro ca. 1588


  •      patristic revival
  •      rhetorical approach to studying the Bible
  •      humanist methods meet scholasticic theology
  •      Thomas Aquinas; natural law; church hierarchy; sacraments

Imagery: Peter; Moses


AF2 Moise

Ex: Acqua Felice, 1580s



Pasquino and pasquinate 1501



  • Martin V (Oddone Colonna)                        1417-31
  • Eugenius IV (Gabriele Condulmer)            1431-47
  • Nicholas V (Tommaso Parentucelli)           1447-55
  • Callixtus III (Alfonso Borgia)                      1455-58
  • Pius II (Enea Silvio Piccolomini)        1448-64
  • Paul II (Pietro Barbo)                           1464-71
  • Sixtus IV (Francesco dello Rovere)             1471-84
  • Innocent VIII (Giovanni Battista Cibo)              1484-92
  • Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia)                   1494-1503
  • Pius III (Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini) Sept-Oct 1503
  • Julius II  (Giuliano dello Rovere)               1503-13
  • Leo X (Giovanni de’ Medici)                        1513-22
  • Hadrian VI (Adrian Florensz)                      1522-23
  • Clement VII (Giulio de’ Medici)          1523-34