Machiavelli, Dei, Minerbetti, Speziali: Four Clergymen for One Church
Sara Paci Piccolo
Fashion Institute of Technology, Firenze/New York
In 1584 Don Giulio Dei commissioned a huge painting on wood, an Assumption of the Virgin, from the court painter Santi di Tito for a small but already important country church in the Mugello, the Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta a Fagna, near Scarperia. The painting is one of the few that Santi di Tito would sign and date (1587). Santa Maria Assunta a Fagna is an ancient church that celebrated its millennium in 2018, and over the centuries it has been an important parish whose priests have always been linked to the city of Florence, and not only by bonds of filial affection. Between the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries, four prominent personalities played a role in it: Filippo Machiavelli (d. 1576), Giulio Dei (d. 1607), Cosimo Minerbetti (d. 1628) and Antonio Speziali (d 1623), all of them connected, in various ways, to the cultural milieu of grand-ducal Florence. Through analysis of their intellects and their close relationships with the grand-ducal court and with prominent ecclesiastics such as Cardinal Marzi Medici, I will explore the network of friendships, and even of personal sentiments, that embraced these figures in order to understand both the mechanisms of dissemination of news in art and culture, and the political and family alliances of Florence at that time.