On Alessandro Del Nero’s Musical Patronage
Università degli Studi di Firenze
Between the late sixteenth and mid seventeenth centuries, the cultural life of Florence was not exclusively linked to the agents of the Medici family; nor did it depend entirely upon them. Many members of the nobility contributed substantially to various forms of entertainment, both at court and elsewhere within the city. Among these was Alessandro Del Nero (1568-1650), Barone di Porcigliano.
Recent archival studies have focused on the patrimony and collections of the Del Nero family; however, the activity of the patrons of performances (musical and otherwise) in grand-ducal Florence remains under-researched. Alessandro Del Nero was a key figure: a patron and client of many painters and musicians, he actively participated in numerous balli, barriere and giostre organized in Florence. He was the dedicatee of Domenico Visconti’s Il primo libro de arie a una e due voci (Venice, 1616) and of Raffaello Rontani’s Le varie musiche… Libro sesto (Rome, 1621). Furthermore, Del Nero’s palace was often the venue of musical performances, balli and mascherate, in which several members of the Florentine nobility and, occasionally, the grand dukes themselves participated.
Drawing on archival materials, letters and extracts from Cesare Tinghi’s Diari (1600–1644), this paper investigates Alessandro Del Nero’s activity as a patron, particularly towards musicians, as well as his direct participation in Florence’s early seventeenth century musical and larger cultural life.