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Leoni engraved and published a series of portraits of seven writers (including a musician and a scientist) within oval printed frames, between 1623 and 1627. In his will, Leoni left the printing plates for this set, together with those for the set of Artists, to his son Ippolito, who was also an artist.

Galileo Galilei of Florence

Object Number P.7931-R

Engraving, 1624

From his position at the Medici Court in Florence, Galileo (1564-1642) visited Rome to play a central role in the scientific Accademia dei Lincei, and to defend himself against accusations that discussion of the Copernican planetary system was heretical. In 1623 his friend the new pope Pope Urban VIII agreed that he could propose a heliocentric universe as long as he also put an opposing view based on God's omnipotence. When Galileo put Urban's opposing argument in the mouth of the hapless Aristotelian 'Simplicio' in his 1632 Dialogue on the two chief world systems, the Pope was furious. The Inquisition forced Galileo to recant.

This print was based on a drawing dated May 1624 (Louvre, Paris). The displacement of the right eye, and the swelling in the forehead and eyelid, suggest that Galileo had a mucocoele of the frontal sinus at the time.

Given by John Charrington 1933


Giovanni Ciampoli of Florence
Papal Secretary

Object Number P.8567-R

Engraving, 1627

Ciampoli (1589-1643) was educated at the Medici Court in Florence, where he befriended Galileo. In Rome he became a member of the Accademia dei Lincei in 1618. His appointments as Secretary of Briefs to Pope Gregory XV and Secret Chamberlain to Pope Urban VIII made him a crucial contact for Galileo in the papal court. He helped to get permission to print Galileo's Dialogue on the two chief world systems in 1632, earning both men the hostility of the Pope.

Ciampoli's lyrics were set by leading composers for patrons like Cardinal Francesco Barberini.

This print is close to an undated drawing (Biblioteca Marucelliana, Florence); both depend on a drawing dated May 1625 ('La Colombaria', Florence).

Given by John Charrington 1933


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Paolo Quagliati of Chioggia
Prothonotary Apostolic

Object Number P.7938-R

Engraving, 1623

Quagliati (c.1555-1628) was made a Roman citizen in 1594 and became organist and Maestro di Capella at the church of S. Maria Maggiore. He composed the first solo-voice madrigals in musically conservative Rome, and his esteem is indicated by the anthology dedicated to him in 1621 by eight other Roman composers. He spent his last years in the service of the Ludovisi family, as Prothonotary Apostolic to Gregory XV (1621-3) and then as private attendant to Ludovico Ludovisi.

This print is based on a drawing dated February 1623 ('La Colombaria', Florence), and may have been the print by Leoni that served as frontispiece to Quagliati's collection La Sfera Armoniosa, written for the wedding of a nephew of the pope in 1623 (no copies survive).

Given by John Charrington 1933


Gabriello Chiabrera of Savona

Object Number P.7930-R

Engraving, 1625

Chiabrera (1552-1638) was educated at the Jesuit college in Rome, but then left the city after being involved in a duel and returned to his native Savona (near Genoa). He worked as a poet, dramatist and librettist, creating new forms of poetic diction and experimenting with rhythms. He was patronised by the Ducal courts in Florence, Turin and Mantua, where he celebrated his patrons in occasional verse. He was also patronised by Pope Urban VIII, whom he eulogised in verse, which explains his presence in Rome when Leoni made this print.

Chiabrera provided texts for many leading composers, including Monteverdi and Caccini. He was admired by Marino, who sent him poems for consideration. When he died Urban VIII wrote him a Latin epitaph.

Given by John Charrington 1933


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Cavaliere Tommaso Stigliani of Apulia

Object Number P.7942-R

Engraving, 1625

Stigliani (1573-1651) was born in Matera and educated in Naples. He became secretary to the Duke of Parma in 1603 but had to flee the city after a duel in 1621. Short of money in Rome in 1623, Quagliati edited Galileo's Il Saggiatore for the Accademia dei Lincei, and the editorial liberties that infuriated Galileo included Stigliani's insertion of a reference to himself.

Stigliani's poems have similar to those of Marino, but he resented Marino's success and fell out with him publicly. He wrote Occhiale (1627) in criticism of Marino's Adone (1623), and faked his collected letters to cast his quarrel with Marino in a better light.

This portrait was based on a drawing dated May 1624 (Albertina, Vienna). Stigliani wears the Maltese cross of a Knight of the Order of Malta.

Given by John Charrington 1933


Cavaliere Giovanni Battista Marino of Naples

Object Number P.7934-R

Engraving, 1623 (probably published 1624)

Marino (1569-1625) left Naples for Rome in 1600. The success of his Rime (1602) led to his identification with a new poetry of daring conceits. Working at the Savoy court in Turin he met Cardinal Maurizio and was knighted by the Duke in 1609 (he wears the Order of SS. Maurizio e Lazzaro in this print). In 1615 he moved to Paris to work at the court of Marie de Medici, where he met the young Poussin and encouraged him to travel to Italy.

This portrait was engraved soon after Marino's triumphant return to Rome, where he was elected head of the Accademia degli Umoristi in May 1623. Simon Vouet painted his portrait around the same time.

Marino's long pseudo-epic Adone (1623) was banned soon after his death. He also wrote works of art-theory.

Given by John Charrington 1933


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Cavaliere Pier Francesco Paoli of Pesaro,

Object Number P.7936-R

Engraving, 1625

Paoli (c.1585-1637/42) spent most of his literary career in Rome, where he was a member of the Accademia degli Umoristi. He published several collections but is best remembered for prefatory verses that he wrote for works by Marino.

The Accademia degli Umoristi was founded in 1600 for the celebration of burlesque and mock-heroic poetry. Its members, who included Marino and Chiabrera, composed and recited poetry that mocked established poetic traditions. The Academy became semi-official through the support and protection of Cardinal Francesco Barberini.

This print was probably based on a drawing dated March 1625 (Albertina, Vienna).

Given by John Charrington 1933


Franceso Bracciolini dell'Api of Pistoia

Object Number 3.H.6-27

Engraving, 1626

Bracciolini (1566-1645) was born in Pistoia and studied law whilst also cultivating a literary career. In 1601 he entered the service of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini in Rome. After the Cardinal was elected pope as Urban VIII in 1623, Bracciolini was made secretary to his brother, Antonio Barberini. He had the honour of adopting the name dell'Api (of the bees) from the bee motif of the Barberini family arms, which explains the bee at the bottom of this print. Symbolic Barberini bees swarmed over the monuments of Urban's Rome, and they were also combined with Bracciolini's engraved portrait on the frontispiece to his allegorical work, The Election of Pope Urban VIII, published in 1628 with a dedication to Cardinal Antonio Barberini.

Bracciolini was an admired poet, best known for his mock-heroic poem The Mockery of the Gods (1617-18). He also advised on the iconographic programme for Pietro da Cortona's frescoed ceiling in the Palazzo Barberini.

This portrait was probably based on a drawing dated May 1625
('La Colombaria', Florence).

This print is not part of the set of writers shown above.


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