Francesca Baldassari – Abstract

The Artistic Patronage of Niccolò and Ludovico Arrighetti

Francesca Baldassari

Università degli Studi di Padova; Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

In Medici Florence in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many aristocratic families contributed to a culturally vibrant and stimulating climate, similar to the Medici court with whom these patrons shared the same interests and passions. This was a world created from circles of intellectuals with vast interests mathematics, philosophy, literature, arts – who would gather within their urban residences or their country villas.

Typical examples were Niccolò Arrighetti (1586-1639) and his cousin Ludovico, member of the Accademia degli Elevati, both of whom had close associations with the circle of Michelangelo Buonarrotti the Younger and his cultural milieu.

Niccolò, a member of the Accademia della Crusca since 1603 and also consul of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, was a cultivated follower and friend of Galileo (in 1623 he succeeded the scientist as consul of the Accademia Fiorentina), close to neo-platonic environments, and the author of poems and philosophic treatises. Arrighetti devoted a great deal of his studies to the work of Plato, and worked on translations of his Dialogues. He was also a collector of works by Bilivert, certainly his favourite painter, and the owner of at least one by Cigoli, and he was in contact with both Jacopo Chimenti, called l’Empoli, and Francesco Furini. The large canvas depicting Aurora, which Arrighetti commissioned from Artemisia Gentileschi (circa 1625), is emblematic of the many relationships that bound the intellectual circles of the avant-garde. The unpublished inventories of their possessions within their Florence house and their villa in Arcetri list works by Pignoni, il Volterrano, Furini, Lippi, and Vignali, providing significant new insights for studies of Tuscan collecting.

The present contribution intends to present the results of research which, beginning with the examination of the documents conserved by the family and exploration of notarial records in the Archivio di Stato di Firenze, will concentrate on significant individuals within the family as a means to reconstruct the activities of these patrons and collectors in the climate of seventeenth century Florence.