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The Borgias


A Spanish "Family" from Valencia

Link to Paradoxplace page on Medieval Popes







In November 2008, Dr Gerard Vaughan, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) (in Melbourne, Australia), announced that a mystery painting bought by the gallery in 1965 had been identified as being a portrait of Lucrezia Borgia painted by Renaissance artist Dosso Dossi (aka Giovanni di Niccolo de Luteri) (c1486-1542 (56)). 


The 500 year old painting reached the NGV via, inter alia, a brother of Napoleon and the British Royal Family.  The fascinating medieval detective story behind the restoration of the painting, then the authentication (via style and pigments) that it was by Dossi, then finally that the sitter was in fact Lucrezia Borgia, can be found in the transcript of this interview of Dr Vaughan on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


It's also a bit of fun to have something genuinely medieval revealed in Australia.  Our thanks to the NGV for the photo.



Lucrezia Borgia by Dosso Dossi, National Gallery of Victoria


Dosso DOSSI, Italian c. 14861541/42

Lucrezia Borgia, Duchess of Ferrara c.1518

oil on wood panel   74.5 x 57.2 cm

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Felton Bequest, 1966



Lucrezia Borgia, Sarah Bradford


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Lucrezia Borgia, Bartolomeo Veneto Lucrezia Borgia, Pinturicchio, Vatican Apartments


Lucrezia Borgia 1480 - 1519 (39)


Daughter of Pope Alessandro (Borgia) and his mistress Vannozza (Giovanna) dei Cattani (b1442)

Wife of Giovanni Sforza and later Alfonso d'Este

Towards whom history has been unjustly harsh and salacious.


Left:  The salacious version painted by Bartolomeo Veneto, though it's not certain it is actually Lucrezia (in fact it's just about certain that it isn't).

Right and below:  Pinturicchio's image of Lucrezia (just maybe) as Santa Catterina d'Alessandria disputing with the philosophers before Emperor Maximian, in the Sala dei Santi in the Borgia apartments of the Vatican.


Santa Caterina, Pinturicchio, Vatican Borgia Apartments




Pope Alessandro VI (Borgia), Pinturicchio, Vatican Apartments





Lucrezia's Dad


Pope Alessandro VI (the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia)

(1431 - 1492 - 1503 (72))


One of the better known "Bad Popes"


Detail from a fresco of the Resurrection, painted 1492 - 95 by Pinturicchio (1454 - 1513 (59)) in the Sala dei Misteri in the Borgia apartments of the Vatican (restored and reopened to the public - April 2006)




The Borgias by Marion Johnson





The Renaissance Popes by Gerard Noel




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Cesare Borgia by Altobello Melone, Bergamo Cesare Borgia, Palazzo Venezia, Rome


Lucrezia's Brother


Cesare Borgia 1475 - 1507 (32)


Son of Pope Alessandro and his mistress Vannozza (Giovanna) dei Cattani (b1442)

A very nasty piece of work


Left:  Painted posthumously in 1520 by Altobello Melone, though it may not actually be our man!  Exhibited in Bergamo.


Right:  Anonymous painter - Palazzo Venezia Rome







Cesare Borgia - his life and times, Sarah Bradford








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The Beautiful Giulia Farnese


A later mistress of Alessandro VI was the reputedly drop dead gorgeous Giulia Farnese (1475 - ?), sister of the future Pope  Paul III  (Alessandro Farnese (14681549 (81)) and technically the wife of a member of the Orsini family.   Sadly not one authentic image of her survives (see this web page).  Cardinal Farnese received rapid advancement under Alessandro VI, leading to his nickname of "the Petticoat Cardinal".  He had four children by his Roman mistress - Pier Luigi, Paolo, Ranuccio, and Costanza - and he later made sure that two of his grandchildren were appointed cardinals whilst still in their teens.



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