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Friday, February 22, 2008

Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni

Francesco Trevisani (1656-1746)
Portrait of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni [1700]
Oil on canvas 134.3 cm x 98.5 cm
Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, Durham


The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, Durham has a collection of paintings which presents a comprehensive survey of European art from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries

It possesses one of the largest collections of Spanish paintings in Britain. The collection of French paintings is also the largest in the country.

One of its fine portraits is that of Pietro Ottoboni, who became a cardinal in 1689 (above).

He was a mecenas of the arts in early 18th century Rome, gathering about him the most prominent musicians (including the young Handel, Arcàngelo Corelli, Antonio Vivaldi and Antonio Caldara), writers and artists (Sebastiano Conca, Sebastiano Ricci and Francesco Trevisani) of his day.

He was the grandnephew of Pope Alexander VIII. Ottoboni was the last person to hold the curial office of Cardinal Nephew, which was abolished by Alexander VIII's successor, Pope Innocent XII, in 1692.

He held the office of vice-chancellor of the Holy Roman Church from November 14, 1689 until February 29, 1740.

He entered the conclave of 1740 but became ill and left the conclave on February 25, 1740. He died of fever four days later.