History of Giustiniani From Genova (Italy)
In the XVIIIth century the East India Companies of England, France and the Netherlands
ruled over many coastal towns and their neighbouring territories in India, Indochina and
Indonesia. An early example of such a mixture of trade and politics can be found in the
Maona Giustiniani which ruled over the island of Scio (Chios), in the Aegean Sea for more
than two centuries, from 1347 to 1566. The name "maona" is of uncertain origin,
maybe from the genovese voice "mobba" equivalent to union, or also from the name
of one ship or also a word most likely of Arab origin Maounach (=trading company). The
origin therefore is tied more families combined in rising of partnership
("lodges"). Such "societies" were of the true ones and own Lordships
with a lot of armies, soldiers and fiscal autonomy and too times their politics were in
contrast with that one of the same Republic that had originated to them. The history of
the island of Chios from the fourteenth century to sixteenth closely is tied to that one
of the family Giustiniani, noble from Genoa that assumed the control of the island in that
time. It is only a legend that one that sees the two lineages Genoa and Venice to come
down from the progeny of Giustiniano, Roman emperor of east, Mark and Angelo lived on 720
d.C. Probably "Giustiniani", but the news is not sure, would derive from the
Giustiniani Palace of Genoa the seat of the company was, already possessed from homonymous
family from Venice, in that age, in good relationships trades with the Genovese Republic.
This palace, dominate still in quarter Giustiniani in Genoa, adorned of the coat-of-arms
of the family and from several trophies gained in the war of Chioggia (Venice). In the
XIVth century the Genovese were competing with the Venetians for the control of the
trading routes in the Levant and in the Black Sea. Venice had a firm hold on Negroponte
and Candia and Genoa needed a secure trading post along the route to Constantinople (for a
page on Genoese trading routes click here
These Lords Giustiniani started a collegiate system of government. Each of the twelve partner having his own part of duty: equal was their fortune and equal were their titles. An example (probably the only) that a noble title pass one to the other not by blood, but to sell a share in a society. The island is famous for its scenery and good climate. Its chief export is mastic a gum exuding from the bark of a tree grown up in the southern part of the island. Unlike many other Greek towns, Chios was not built on high ground providing a natural defence; it did not have an acropolis, a citadel where the inhabitants could oppose an effective resistance to the assaults of the enemy. The Genoese found some Byzantine fortifications, but eventually decided to build a new set of walls, which would protect their new acquisition. Maona Giustiniani promoted farming in Scio and in particular in Kampos, a plain to the south of the town. Each farm was surrounded by walls, often rather high, having the objective to minimize the erosion of the soil due to the meltemi the strong wind which blows on the Aegean. The walls and the buildings were erected making use of Thymiana, a local stone with warm yellow and red tones. Each farm had a deep well to intercept the flow of abundant underground waters. Overall the texture of buildings, gates, boundary walls, etc. is still very consistent and the majority of the modern additions respect the old architectural patterns. The farms of Kampos could be easily protected from corsar raids by the Genoese ships in the harbour of Scio, but the southern tip of the island was exposed to this risk. For this reason the peasants lived in fortified villages, which have retained their peculiar layout. The villages did not have walls, but the external houses were lined up to form a barrier. They did not have doors or windows on this side (now they have been opened). At each corner of the village there was a tower and there was only one gate giving access to the village. This structure is still very well preserved in Mesta. The defence of Mesta was entrusted to the villagers themselves. The corsairs who had managed to penetrate inside the village found themselves in a maze of very narrow alleys covered by archways through which the villagers could easily move and repel the assailants. This layout is impressively similar, although the buildings of Mesta are not so high, to the carrugi, the very narrow streets of the medieval quarter of Genoa. The fortifications of the villages were completed by a large tower at the centre of the village. It could be reached only through very narrow streets and it did not have openings at the ground floor. The tower of Mesta has been pulled down to provide the village with at least one open space, but nearby Pirgi has retained much of its pirgos (tower). In the XIVth century several powers were competing with Genoa for the supremacy in the Aegean Sea (
To the fourth level all the given over persons of Greek origin to the jobs you serve them, in the hollow ones of mastic and agriculture. To the fifth level the Hebrew, given over for more to the usury, forced living in the ghetto (could only exit during the Saint week), and to carry a yellow hat, beyond making in sure moments of the year action of subjection and submission to the Giustiniani. To the sixth level the foreigns not resident in the island. In 1453 when the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II launched his attack against the walls of Constantinople, a Genoese contingent of volunteers from Chios went to Constantinople to join the limited forces of the Emperor. They were led by a gallant young soldier called Giovanni Giustiniani Longo, who played a crucial role in the siege of the city, until his being wounded during the final Ottoman assault signalled the forthcoming defeat. The Genoese fortifications of Scio included a very deep moat, now a dusty parking-lot, which isolated the town with the exception of one point of access. After the fall of Constantinople, Genoa had to come to terms with the Sultan. Because he rightly saw that only Venice could actually challenge his expansion aims, he preferred to establish a good relationship with Genoa and Scio was not threatened by the Ottomans. However, Maona Giustiniani had to agree to yearly pay the Sultan a large amount of gold and to grant him a supply of mastic, a gum exuding from the bark of a tree grown up in the southern part of the island. The Ottomans, at all costs tried to take the definitive control on the islands. On the pretext of militarily support the credit pretension of the Genovese nobleman Francisco Drapperio, in the comparisons of the Maona for one left of Alum, in the spring of 1455, one powerful Ottoman fleet berths to wide of Chios. Turkish admiral Hansabeg saw the good fortification of the island, estimated that it was not the case to risk an attack. The Genovese Republic engaged in the war with Alfonso of Aragon, very not being able to help its far colonies was limited to arm two Galee with 800 men to the commando with Peter Giustiniani (still major of Soverein of Malta during Lepanto battle against Turks october 1571) and invoke the aid of the Pope and the King of England Henry VI. In autumn 1455, 20 Turkish trireme commant from Junusberg, move towards Chios, although that a storm from there disperses the greater part, the Turks conquer without to fight New Focea on 24 December 1455 and the island of Lesbos. In the 1481 the Giustiniani abandons the island of Samo and leaves Nicaria the Knights of S.Giovanni, which already before they had left Cos. These islands lacking in ports and nearly desert, were already of insufficient interest are to the Giustiniani that to the Turks. Also Genoa begins to fear the power of the Giustiniani, 2 March 1558, to Costantinopoli a plenipotentiary one of the Doge, Francisco de Franchi Torturino negotiates in order to yield the rights of the exploitation of Chios to the Turks. Maona Giustiniani continued to rule Scio until 1566, when a delay in the payment of the yearly tax gave Sultan Suleyman the Great the pretext to make his last conquest. The 14 avril 1566 a fleet of 80 galley, commandant from Kapudanpascià Pialì arrive to the port of Chios that in short succeeds to occupy without to fight in spite of the intercession of the podestà Vincenzo Giustiniani. That did not prevent that the island endured a violent pillage, the Churches was all destroyed or converted in Mosques, very soon all that of beautiful, works them and useful to Chios it was depredated or had. Vincenzo Giustiniani with the others 12 governors and the other Giustiniani more in sight were made and capacities to Costantinopoli captive. 21 young Giustiniani between the 12 and 16 years they were separates to you from the parents, forced to abjure the catholic faith and to enlist themselves in the body of the janissarys 3 of they were folded to the Ottoman will, the others 18 were were slaughtered after atrocious tortures the 6 September 1566. in what was called the massacre of Scio. These last ones were canonized from the Church. A painting* about this martyrdom is in the palace of "dogi" to Genoa. The heads of the Maona were imprisoned in Crimea, where many died, to the survivors, for intercession of the French ambassador, in the 1567 it was granted to it to return to Genoa, with the vain hope to look at itself recognized an indemnification for the loss of the island. Most of them returned to Chios, their fatherland. There was still a bishop of Chios in the XIX century: Ignazio in a 1830 and other with the same name in 1879. Now there arent people with this surname in Chios. The old dominions of the Giustiniani in the Dodecaneso, under the Turkish game, went very soon in ruin. Chios was reduced in a den of thieves and pirates. The few Latins remained were imprison by Ottomans. The greater part of the remained population was plebeians. All the Churches of the island were destroyed excepting the Dominican' s convent and the Chapel of Franciscans. The wealthiest Giustiniani families who chose to leave the island, also to Genoa, escaped to Rome, Ancona, Amatrice, Messina, Palermo, Caprarica of Lecce, Smirne, Alessandria, and generally all around the Mediterraneo area. One on these Giustiniani survived was Giuseppe Giustiniani that moved to Rome. where his brother in law Cardinal Vincenzo Giustiniani introduced him to the papal court. He married his three daughters to members of the Roman aristocracy and his son Benedetto became a cardinal in 1586. In 1590 he bought what today is known as Palazzo Giustiniani (now siege of Senate of the Italian Republic) and in 1595 the fief of Bassano Romano (the old name was Bassano di Sutri). He increased the fame and celebrity of Giustinianis family, being the patron of Caravaggio finest artist painter. The renowned prestigious and fabulous collections of Caravaggio master pieces are today scattered in museums and private collections around the world (Giustiniani collection of antiquities by Christina Strunck). When his highness the Prince of Bassano Romano, Marquees Vincenzo Giustiniani died, he decided (by testament to bequeath) and left a part of his riches to his descendants Giustiniani. Its usual that in the testaments of lords Giustiniani a part of the riches went to all Giustiniani, also if their arent direct descendents. In particular in the Marquees Vincenzo Giustinianis testament, after a very long contentious lasted (along) 1631 to 1953, a judgement decided that who can prove to be a descendant of the first twelve Giustiniani and to have a ancestor in the gold book of the nobles of Genoa, it was heir and Genovese patrician and lords of Chios. At the end, there were 288 heirs and heiresses divided in 12 lines. But most of heirs didnt participate in this contentious and probably dont know still today to be heirs of this family. Its import to emphasize that the genovese nobility is a republican nobility, nobles as persons who participated to the city government not as feudal nobility as like we are accustoms to mean. Now, Im engaging in maintaining the attention lives on the history of this family. You can find a lot of information on my web site in Italian (www.giustiniani.info
The story of a noble Genoese family that formed a dynasty in the island of Chios in the Aegean by Enrico Giustiniani on Levantine Heritage The story of a community
Un a video-clip about Giustiniani family designed built and installed by P.Papacosta.
The Giustiniani Collection
by Silvia Danesi Squarzina
On the occasion of theCaravaggio e i Giustiniani exhibition (in Rome, at Palazzo Giustiniani, 26 January - 15 May 2001), by courtesy of the Electa publishing house we reproduce from the catalogue part of the essay by Silvia Danesi Squarzina on the Giustianini collection.
A sense of vanity regarding earthly things and the contradictory desire to perpetuate the memory of itself by means of a collection which is inimitable and innovative compared with current taste, a monument and summing-up of the first forty years of 17th century culture; an arc of time that has as its background the union of politics and religion and, in the foreground, an idea of reality as revelation, as a flash of light, a going beyond the formal conventions, to astonish and transgress, through the dazzling ascent of everyday language (hoggidism, a term introduced by the scholars of baroque literature) as embodied by Caravaggio, to which followed the European phenomenon of Caravaggism and its slow eclipse. Certainly we cannot comprehend and appreciate the centrality of Caravaggio's language if we do not realise, particularly in the century we are dealing with, how the task of global communication was entrusted to painting. A characteristic of this great commission is the fact of being immersed in the active and binding financial life of its particular time. The term Baroque, commonly used in order to define painting and sculpture in the Italian 16th century, is inadequate in defining the taste of the merchant class for collecting in that age, a class which was modified compared with its great 14th century predecessors but which conserved in its genetic patrimony the chromosome of adherence to facts, to reality. Dominators of financial markets thanks to the modernity of the instruments used (bills of exchange, banks, etc.) the Genoan merchants controlled the key positions in the European economy through loans to popes and sovereigns. They were buoys, cardinal points around which rotated the games of power and the changes in politico-cultural fortunes. To what must we attribute the interest, no longer only specialised, but by now widened to a vast public, towards great collecting? This is a subject for study in which it is possible to see impressed in the work of art also the man to whom it was destined, as a co-creator together with the artist himself. For some time now research into the history of art has opened up new curiosity concerning the preferences of the patrons and towards the collections as a whole. "Collecting" is conceived as a fulfilled work of art in itself, needing to be safeguarded in its integrity, a reflection of its time, an instrument of conscience. The importance of conserving picture galleries, each intended as a whole, was much felt by the collectors themselves who, in order to prevent their heirs either selling or splitting them up, used an important juridical instrument, that of the trust. This tie has preserved great Roman collections such as the Borghese, the Spada, the Doria Pamphilj and so on. Unfortunately it has not saved that of the Giustinianis, which was among the most beautiful, and the economic difficulties of the heirs have decreed its progressive dispersal which began halfway through the 18th century and came to a conclusion in the 19th. The Giustinani family was Genoan and gave doges to the Superba. A branch of the family had created an immense fortune by trading in mastic and alum on the island of Scio, in the Aegean sea, with a global vision of the markets and the economy through an associative structure called "maona", a forerunner of modern joint stock companies. All its members took the name Giustiniani. In 1566, Giuseppe Giustiniani left the Greek island of Scio chased out by the growing intrusion of the Turks who, due to a production crisis, had not been paid the customary tribute, and moved to Rome. There, the brother of his wife Gerolama, Cardinal Vincenzo Giustiniani (7 August 1519 - 2 October 1582), general of the Dominican foundation of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, enjoyed great prestige and power and guaranteed support inside the Curia. Giuseppe brought with him his children and great sums in cash judging from the possessions and offices which he quickly purchased. The alliances of his brother-in-law, the far-sighted Dominican cardinal, from Filippo Neri to Carlo Borromeo, both destined to be made saints, oriented those of Giuseppe and his descendants, including matrimonial choices, human and social relationships contracted between the oratory of the Filippines and pauperist religious orders. Alliances with banking circles are also noted. All this in the framework of great administrative and financial ability, typical of the Genoan and peculiar to the Giustiniani family, who loaned money to half Europe, sometimes to both the contenders in conflicts taking place. The cash that the noble merchant used immediately assured him an important position in the equilibri of Roman society, characterised by an agrarian aristocracy short of liquidity. He became responsible for the Depositeria Pontificia. For his two sons, Benedetto (Scio, 5 June 1554 - Rome, 27 March 1621) and Vincenzo (Scio, 13 September 1564 - Rome, 27 December 1637), he was to procure a role of importance. Relevant characteristics of their lives were the great reserve, parsimony, lack of ostentation of their riches and power, as well as their innovative artistic choices towards the developing realism in the style of Caravaggio. It is fitting to fix the date of the death of the father of the two collectors Benedetto and Vincenzo in 1600 as being the start of our treatment of the subject, even if some paintings can already be referred to his purchases, begun with Venetian painting, that of Ferrara and obviously that of Genoa. The initials GG impressed in the wax seal on the back of some works among which the Natività on a panel by Palma il Vecchio - inv. 1621, 216, which reappears in inv. 1638, II, 17 attributed to the "early manner of Titian", Berlin, Gemäldegalerie - and the Garofalo di Colonia (see diagram) are perhaps the initials of Giuseppe Giustiniani. Bernardo Castello, the Genoan painter, a great friend of the poet Giovanni Battista Marino, and painter of the frescoes in the room of Psyche (1605) in Palazzo Giustiniani at Bassano Romano (formerly Bassano di Sutri) had painted a Natività dated 1582 (inv. 1600, 85) for Giuseppe, today in the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, which in fact became part of Benedetto's collection after the death of his father Giuseppe. This same artist was commissioned, after October 1582, the date of the death of Cardinal Vincenzo Giustiniani, to make the altar-piece for the family chapel in Santa Maria sopra Minerva featuring the Predica di San Vincenzo Ferreri, dated 1584. Both these works contain the face of Giuseppe who commissioned them. The altar-piece of the Minerva shows us the youthful Benedetto wearing canonicals and also the face of Vincenzo as a young boy. Until 1621, the date of the death of the first-born, the Giustiniani collection grew due to a perfect understanding between the two brothers, Cardinal Benedetto and the Marquis Vincenzo. The former had the task of linking the fortunes of the family to success with the pontifical curia, while the latter that of assisting this rise in importance with careful purchases of art, long-lasting, and the fruit of an infallible aesthetic sense, as well as with hard work in handling the finances of the family's growing riches. Since the subject of the current exhibition are the paintings, we can therefore only merely mention the palace building and the antique sculptures, which would be important subjects for another order of research. We do not know when Vincenzo began to accumulate the statues which in the inventory of 1638 we see situated in the gallery and in the rooms of the palace in San Luigi dei Francesi as well as in other residences. The inventory on the death of Cardinal Benedetto lists the contents of the gallery in 1621, and in it we find 39 paintings - among which Cambiaso, Dosso, Francia, Giorgione (?), Veronese, Titian, an interesting copy of a work by Bramantino, Calvaert, Baglione, Caravaggio, Passignano and Pomarancio - and very few statues. This has raised the question to which archaeologists have not provided an answer as to the whereabouts at that date of the statues owned by Vincenzo? Perhaps the collection had not yet reached the huge number of items that we gather it contained seventeen years later and probably many antique pieces were in the villa at Laterano, owned by the Marquis (while the villa at the Muro Torto belonged to Benedetto). The statues seem to have had various changes of location, not only a long time after 1638, but already after 1621, when Vincenzo inherited the whole palace. For some time the attention of scholars of the 17th century and antiquity has been directed to the gallery of Palazzo Giustiniani. Understanding its fruition is fundamental given the role model that it represented for its time. So far the part played by the decoration of the walls is not clear: a sort of tapestry on which to hang paintings or rather a heritage of the first proprietors of the building, whitewashed, according to Lucia Guerrini, by Vincenzo himself. It has also been suggested that some sculptures were placed on shelves attached to the walls on which are frescoed great twisted columns inspired by the pergola of the ancient basilica of St. Peter's, composed of columns which according to legend came from the temple of Solomon. As a result of the Solomon stories on the ceiling, paid to Ricci and Lanzone, this decoration is similar to the decoration of the church of Santa Susanna in Rome, to be dated after 1598. It may have caught the interest of Vincenzo who, not by chance, in his Discourse above the architecture actually nominates that church. If it is the decorative model used by the Giustinianis on the basis of what we know of the decoration of the nave of Santa Susanna, we also must post-date the fake architecture on the walls of their gallery to the end of the 16th or the early years of the 17th century. Now that the date of birth of Matteo Zaccolini has been firmly established, not 1590 but 1574, it is plausible to believe what Baglione writes regarding the collaboration of the Theatine brotherhood in the architectural-perspective arrangement of the four stories of Santa Susanna painted by Baldassare Croce after 1598. It is of some importance to notice Vincenzo Giustiniani's interest (he writes of the importance of understanding the laws of perspective) regarding Zoccolini, who was to be the focus of attention not only on the part of Domenichino but also of Cassiano dal Pozzo and Poussin, in other words the protagonists of the Marquis' circle. The Theatine order to which Zoccolini belonged had contacts with the Genoan family. Both in the church of Santa Susanna and in the large but not too large gallery of Palazzo Giustiniani, the use of artists and skilled workers from the work sites of pope Sixtus V gave to the whole an out-moded aura, not in line with the evolution of the times. It is the clever illusionary result of the huge twin columns, placed like wings to the backgrounds, that renews the overall conception and not only by rendering the spatial dimension even greater. Therefore the decoration of the gallery came in three different phases: the pictures of the story of Solomon in the ceiling paid for on 4 July 1590 possibly at the act of acquiring the palazzo, but in which the Giustinianis had been already living for more than a year; the grotesques with small landscapes in the ceiling to be referred, as says Fioravante Martinelli and as one gathers from the comparison with the repertory of the etchings of the latter, to the huge Tempesta workshop; and finally, immediately afterwards, the decorating of the walls. But above all (this is the point we most want to make) to attribute to Vincenzo (who certainly supervised the works also in the rooms destined to his brother) the decision to decorate the walls, makes clear to us his technical programme. He intended to lay out the collections in two well-distinct "places" consecrated by antiquarian memories: gallery and pinacotheca (the famous three rooms of ancient pictures). And that was how it was to be if, as I have already stated, on Benedetto's death in 1621, the pictures in the gallery numbered no fewer than 39. Vincenzo, his heir, was to drastically reduce the number to only 15. The use evoked in the Discourse above the paintings to "parare compitamente le pareti con quadri" (to fittingly fill the walls with pictures) is therefore not valid for the gallery, arranged so as to house statues. And in point of fact the gallery in palazzo Giustiniani at Bassano Romano entrusted to Albani does have its walls entirely frescoed. The gallery is a space outside time, in which antiquity is intimately revisited and which opts for sculptures, placed on the floor or on large stools. These pieces of furniture, frequently bearing the family crest, were sometimes made by cabinet makers such as Claude Pernet di Lorraine ("two pedestals in walnut one carved in the shape of sirens and the other in the likeness of the god Terminus"). To sum up briefly the layout of the palazzo we can say that until his death the father Giuseppe (1600) lived in the wing towards via Giustiniani, a wing which in 1621 seems to have been available to Benedetto together with all the rooms on the side towards via dei Crescenzi and including the gallery. Vincenzo, until 1621, lived in the so-called "noble second floor", if we like to call it by an expression in use in Genoan palazzi. But he kept for himself the already described three rooms of the noble first floor, irregularly shaped, and situated on the front towards San Luigi dei Francesi. In the years in which the noble first floor was almost entirely at Benedetto's disposal, apart from the gallery his study also seems to be of particular importance in the itinerary offered to the 17th century visitor. Apart from twelve busts of Roman emperors, Benedetto kept in this room three important fragments of three lost mosaic cycles of the ancient St. Peter's: San Giuseppe (inv. 1621, 160), from the Natività of Oratorio of Giovanni VII, Gesù Bambino (inv. 1621, 175), from the tomb of Bonifacio VIII, and the Testa della Madonna (inv. 1621, 159) from the Deesis, which decorated the ancient facade of the Vatican Basilica. The inventory of 1793 still lists them all and regarding the Madonna points out that she has a star on her shoulder, therefore this is a confirmation that it must be the mosaic bought with the other two in Rome from the antiquarian Bonieno da Sevastjanov and now in the Pushkin museum. Also in his study, Benedetto kept the St. Peter and St. Paul which had been part of the fresco of the Sogno di Costantino. In the framework of studies on Christian archaeology, it would seem that his objective was to have a small reliquary of various parts of the ancient basilica, in the years in which he was the provost of Paolo V Borghese (1605-1621) at the Fabbrica di San Pietro. Vincenzo then moved the whole of this group of Christian antiquities into the third room of ancient pictures (1638, II, 236, 237, 238, 239 and 240). But the palazzo is not a background for the collection. The focus of attention of scholars is verging towards ever more analytical aspects, complementary to artistic history. The archives of the great patrician families provide valuable precision concerning attribution and the dating of key works. One of the reasons for the scholarly attention devoted to the Giustiniani family is the abundance of documents still conserved which invite research of various types. Given the mass of papers examined by us (more than 400 large folders kept in the Archivio di Stato in Rome, as well as numerous other sources and archives) we can claim to know almost everything about the Giustinianis, regarding their life style, furnishings, possessions and, most of all, their collections, the type and composition of which are by now clear to us. Therefore it becomes even more necessary to interpret the data in our possession, to animate the scenario and transform a waxworks museum into a theatre full of living figures, the dimension of which is ever more Italian, despite its numerous intellectual and practical life openings towards a more than European space. On the other hand, we must resist the temptation of the anecdote and the proliferation of historical data in order to dedicate specific attention to the picture collection which is the main objective of our research. The inventories on the death of Marquis Vincenzo Giustiniani, compiled in February 1638 and published by Luigi Salerno in 1960, made it possible to reconstruct the entity and high quality of the whole, almost six hundred paintings and approximately two thousand ancient sculptures. These inventories reveal a great expert and are most useful in refining modern conoisseurship in that they contain, for the picture collection, the names of the artists resulting from the lists presumably dictated according to Vincenzo's own wish when he made a new will on 22 January 1631 (see diagram) and instituted the tie of a trust. The few errors of attribution concern certain old acquisitions by Benedetto the memory of which had been lost and the ancient pictures; the Madonna col Bambino e i santi Giuseppe e Francesco (inv. 1621, 50) by Dosso Dossi in the inventory of 1638, despite the fact that Vincenzo was an expert on Dosso is mentioned as being attributed to Sebastiano del Piombo, but even contemporary scholars have had doubts. Rediscovering, in 1994, the inventories of the elder brother, Cardinal Benedetto, the first being published between approximately 1600 and 1611 (108 paintings) and the second dated 1621 (300 paintings), and comparing them with those of the younger brother, it has been possible for me to track down the first nucleus and retrace numerous paintings which had been dispersed.
"Michelangelo & Sebastiano: The Credit Suisse Exhibition"
(15 Marzo – 25 Giugno 2017)
A 500-year-old marble statue of Christ will form the centrepiece of a blockbuster exhibition on Michelangelo at the National Gallery after curators negotiated a deal to bring it to London from its permanent home in a monastery in Italy. The statue of the Risen Christ, weighing almost a ton, is one of almost 30 works which will go on show at the National Gallery next year in its first major exhibition on perhaps the greatest of all Renaissance artists in more than 20 years. The Michelangelo exhibition, two years in the making, could set new visitor records. The show, which opens in March 2017 and runs until the end of June, will focus on Michelangelo’s friendship and collaboration with the artist Sebastiano del Piombo and their acrimonious falling out.
Il “Cristo Portacroce” di Michelangelo, conservato nella Chiesa del Monastero San Vincenzo Martire di Bassano Romano, insieme alla “Pietà” di Sebastiano del Piombo, conservata nel Museo Civico di Viterbo, sono i tesori della Tuscia protagonisti dal 15 marzo al 25 giugno 2017 della mostra “Michelangelo e Sebastiano” alla National Gallery di Londra. “Non è la prima volta che la statua del Cristo Portacroce di Bassano Romano varca i nostri confini – dichiara l’Assessore al Turismo e alla Promozione del Territorio di Bassano Romano, Yuri Gori – e questa nuova partenza conferma il grande valore dell’opera. Ricordo la presenza della statua di Michelangelo in Messico, a Berlino e a Roma. L’ultima esposizione è stata proprio a Roma, ai Musei Capitolini, in occasione del 450° anniversario della morte di Michelangelo Buonarroti con la mostra ‘Michelangelo. Incontrare un artista universale’, dove la nostra Statua, anche per la sua particolare storia, ha riscosso un grande successo di critica. E dopo Londra, dovrebbe partire alla volta del Giappone per un’altra mostra di carattere internazionale. Conosciamo il suo valore – continua l’Assessore Gori – ed il fatto che viene richiesta da tutto il mondo ci rende assolutamente fieri. Dall’altra parte, proprio il Cristo Portacroce può e deve essere uno dei nostri punti di forza per attrarre turisti a Bassano Romano e su questo stiamo lavorando. La statua, infatti, ci consente di promuovere il nostro paese per un turismo di qualità e culturale. E anche la presenza dell’opera di Michelangelo in diversi paesi consente una promozione proprio di Bassano Romano. Abbiamo avviato un percorso di promozione territoriale che sta raccogliendo i primi risultati, con la consapevolezza che sarà lungo ma sul quale stiamo puntando in maniera strategica”. “Siamo convinti – commenta ancora Yuri Gori – che la cultura ed il nostro patrimonio artistico, architettonico e paesaggistico costituisce una delle risorse fondamentali per uno sviluppo sostenibile del turismo e del nostro territorio. Accanto alla statua del Cristo Portacroce, infatti, possiamo contare sulla Villa Giustiniani, che contiene pregevoli affreschi del Seicento ed un parco di circa 24 ettari, sulla faggeta e su altri beni che possono offrire un itinerario turistico di assoluto interesse e di qualità. E’ un patrimonio che rappresenta, inoltre, una importantissima testimonianza della nostra storia”.
Nude Christ by Michelangelo, Long Forgotten, Will Be Shown in London
(By Elisabetta Povoledo)
It might seem odd that a nearly seven-foot-tall statue of Christ by Michelangelo — and a nude one at that — would go unnoticed for centuries. But that’s what happened to “Risen Christ,” a monumental figure that was transferred to a country church about 35 miles from Rome in the 17th century and that fell into oblivion until 1997, when scholars attributed it to the Renaissance master. “It was thought to be an imitation” of a Michelangelo, and “not a faithful one at that,” said the Rev. Cleto Tuderti, prior of the San Vincenzo Monastery on the outskirts of Bassano Romano, near Viterbo, where the statue was taken in 1644. “Certainly, no one thought it was by Michelangelo.” Father Tuderti says he is convinced that the unknown provenance of the work ensured its salvation through the ages. When Napoleon’s troops invaded Italy at the end of the 18th century, they sacked Bassano Romano but did not touch the statue, he said. During World War II, the Germans “set up a command post in Bassano,” but they did not loot the statue, he continued. And when the Odescalchi family donated the badly dilapidated monastery to Father Tuderti’s predecessor in 1941, they removed other artifacts, but not the statue, he said cheerfully. “Fortunately, no one knew it was an original,” said Father Tuderti, who belongs to the Sylvestrine Benedictine order. “That’s what saved it, and preserved it here, in situ.” Since the statue was identified as a Michelangelo, however, the monastery has gladly shown off its treasure, allowing the statue to travel to exhibitions around the world, including in Rome, Berlin and Mexico City. Soon, it will be one of the showpieces of an exhibition on Michelangelo and the painter Sebastiano del Piombo that is set to open at the National Gallery in London on March 15 and to run through June 25. “Risen Christ” was commissioned in 1514 by Metello Vari, the nephew of a wealthy Roman patrician, Marta Porcari, whose will required her heirs to build a chapel in her memory in the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome. Documents show that Vari asked Michelangelo to sculpt a life-size figure of a standing, nude Christ holding a cross. But Michelangelo abandoned work on the statue after finding a deep, black vein cutting through the left cheek. He returned to Florence and fretted over the aborted commission. “I’m dying of anguish,” he wrote to Leonardo Sellaio, a bank agent, in December 1518. Soon after, the artist began a second version of “Risen Christ,” which he completed in 1521. That work is still in the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. But Michelangelo also gave Vari the first, incomplete statue, which fell into obscurity after Vari’s death in 1554. It was acquired in Rome roughly 50 years later by the Giustiniani family, wealthy collectors — and famously patrons of Caravaggio — who presumably did not know the statue’s genesis. Another artist was commissioned to finish the statue, and in 1644, the Christ was transferred to the recently built church of San Vincenzo Martire in Bassano Romano, where it remained on the main altar until 1979. The prior at the time, the Rev. Ildebrando Gregori, chose to dedicate the main altar to devotion of the Holy Face of Jesus, and he moved the “Risen Christ” to the sacristy. The “Risen Christ” was known only from writings describing Michelangelo's work on a statue of that description until Dr. Irene Baldriga and Prof. Silvia Danesi Squarzina of La Sapienza University in Rome, who were working on the Giustiniani archives, tracked down the statue in 1997. After other documents emerged and the attribution to Michelangelo was confirmed, there was some discussion about where the statue should go and in what guise. Michelangelo had sculpted a nude Christ because, in 1514, “reverence for classical antiquity and the timeless beauty of the human body” still held sway, Professor Squarzina said. Later, in keeping with the mores of the Counter-Reformation, a bronze cloth was added to cover the Christ’s groin. “The monks didn’t want a nude statue on the main altar, but we wanted to display it as Michelangelo had created it, so we arrived at a compromise,” said Professor Squarzina, who had the backing of the state’s art authorities. The bronze cloth was removed, and the statue was placed in a side chapel where it is protected by alarms and a heavy metal grate. Both versions of the statue will be exhibited at the National Gallery (the Minerva one in a plaster cast), so that they can be studied side-by-side for the first time. “The evolution between the two versions is fascinating and ties into Michelangelo’s relationship with Sebastiano,” the focus of the exhibition, said Matthias Wivel, the National Gallery’s curator of 16th-century Italian paintings. The statues “help us tell this story,” he said. Sebastiano, moreover, was involved in the haphazard installation of the second version of the statue in the Minerva, which he described in panicky letters to Michelangelo. Those letters will also be included in the London show. Father Tuderti says he hopes that the statue’s notoriety will bring more visitors to the monastery, which runs a bed-and-breakfast. Few locals come to the site, he said, perhaps not knowing that there was a Michelangelo to behold. “Viterbo is closed mentally, like their Etruscan forbears, they’re more appreciative of what’s on the table” and in their farms, Father Tuderti said. “I hope they don’t hear me,” he joked. After London, the statue is set to travel to Japan for other exhibitions, he said. Some art experts fear that the statue — which weighs around a ton and has to be transported using military planes — has been traveling more than it should, putting it at risk of damage or loss. But Father Tuderti says that the attribution to Michelangelo has been a godsend, and that the money the monastery makes from lending it for exhibitions has paid off large tax debts and is helping to finance the construction of a monastery in the Republic of Congo. “The statue was identified at the right time,” he said. “We were in financial difficulty, and this statue now brings us a little help every once in a while.”
Latin family from Chios to Costantinopoli and Smyrna
When the island of Chios was conquered from the Ottomans in 1566, many families moved to Constantinople and Smyrna. A new current of exchanges trades and relations begin between the Latins from Chios and Genoa and those of Constantinople. From the study of the Chios parochial registries, now conserved in the island of Tinos, and an unknown manuscript, dated between 1825 and 1830, of Giovanni Isidoro catholic vicarious of Chios, on the dispersion of documents after of the Turkish repression of 1822, we found the names of some old still present Latin families in the island: de Portu, Ferando, dAndria, Castelli, Corpi, Marcopoli, Guglielmi, Giustiniani, Palassurò, Giuducci (Giudici), Reggio, Roustan.
Curious is that until XIX century, there wasnt the problem of what kind of nationality had the Latins of Chios under the Ottoman government, because there wasnt a particular capitulation signed after 1566, as it was made in Constantinople after 1453 between Mahomet II and Genovese colony. We suppose that these Latins conserved the own nationality, otherwise as we could explain that Latins from Chios, after migrated to Smyrna, still at the beginning of the past century (XIX century), were considered with a foreign nationality that, often, like in the case of the Giustiniani, was the nationality form their origin country in particular they come from Genoa, therefore: Italian.
After the Conquest of Constantinople on 1453, some Latin families that had found shelter in the Greek islands (Chios, Tinos, Syra, Naxos, Santorini), When in the city returned the calm and the order, decided to re-enter in Constantinople. These cases isolate to became most frequent from 1537, when these islands, one after the other, was conquered from the Turks. According to the registries of the deaths of Saint Maria Draperis, important parish of Constantinople, from 1800 to 1855, 33.09% of the deceased persons were constituted from immigrate from three islands (Tinos 17,48%; Syra 13,43%; Chios 2.18%). We notice that those already established to Constantinople represent only 9.92% of the deaths. The Latins was re-united under a civil and religious body called Magnificent Community. When this Community, about on 1840, was placed under the jurisdiction of the Turkish ministry of the Foreign countries, taken the name of Ottoman Latin chancery and its activity continued until 1927. According to the registries of the deaths of Saint Maria Draperis, we have found from 1800 to 1855, the names of the Latins family from Chios emigrated to Costantinopoli: Braggiotti, Bragiotti, Carco, Caro, Castelli, Charo, Cochino, Coresi, Coressi, Corpi, Doria, Gaidani, Gallizi, Giro, Giustiniani, Isidoro, Jobini, Jobiori, Justiniani, Magnifico, Marcopoli, Marcopolo, Massoni, Nomico, Petier, Piperi, Renaccio, Tubini, Vegeti, Xenopoulo, Zoratelli. The foreign Latin Community lived its golden age from 1839, given of the emanation of the reforms of modernization of the Ottoman Empire, until the abolition of the capitulations with the Peace treaty signed to Losanna the 24 July 1923. In each case, the new Republic of Turkey did not delay to apply a certain number of measures to liberalize the commerce from the foreign dominion to that exercising from the minorities.
The Giustiniani branch in the city of Smyrna, come from of the family Giustiniani-De' Fornetti (Conte Palatino on 1413), marquises, decree ministerial by Italian Rein on 22 February 1893, Noble and patricians Genovese recognized decree ministerial by Italian Rein on 20 June 1891) present also in Chios, Genoa, Spain and Sicily. The last descendent was Marquis Francisco-Brizio-Edmondo Giustiniani-De' Fornetti born in Smirne on 13 January 1840, son of Marquis Niccolò Giustiniani-De' Fornetti born in Chios on 1798, died in Smirne in 1872. Francisco-Brizio-Edmondo Giustiniani-De' Fornetti married Maria Giustiniani-De' Fornetti born in Smirne on 13 December 1842. They had nine sons: Maria (Smirne on 1842, married to Emilio Levante I.R. Vice Consul of Austria-Hungary Empire in Alessandretta), Emilia (married Ernesto Guillois), Edmondo (Smirne on 1869 married Maria Baroness Aliotti), Anna (Smirne on 1870, nun), Laura (married to Pietro Filippucci), Giovanna, Niccolò (Smirne on 1875), Margherita and Cristina.
The presence of the Giustiniani to Smyrna was confirmed from a lists (1786) of not Muslim merchants operating to Smyrna
sito in Italiano
Giustiniani - Version Française
Giustiniani - Versión española
Giustiniani - Deutsche kurze Version
Bassano Romano, the old fief of Giustiniani homepage
some pictures of Palace Giustiniani Odescalchi