Artibus et Historiae no. 67 (XXXIV)2013, ISSN 0391-9064
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STEFANIA MASON - The Vanity of a Cardinal: Alvise Pisani and His Inventory (1570) (pp. 175-184)
The discovery of the inventory of belongings of Alvise Pisani (Venice, 1522–1570), preserved at the time of his death in the palace of Santa Maria Zobenigo, provides an opportunity to re-examine the ecclesiastic career of a member of one of the most distinguished and wealthiest Venetian families belonging to the ‘papalist’ group.
A protégé of his mighty uncle, cardinal Francesco Pisani, Alvise became a bishop elected for five years and then a cardinal, dividing his short life between his Venetian residence and Palazzo Venezia in Rome, and occasionally sojourning also in the bishopric of Padua.
With the aid of a book by his tutor, Nicolò Liburnio, published in 1546 and dedicated to Pisani, an attempt has been made to reconstruct his cultural formation, and through an analysis of the works of art inventoried, as well as the commissions made for his uncle, particularly for the bishops’ villa at Luvigliano, his artistic tastes. His rich and rather secular wardrobe reflects the life in which the boundaries between religious power and secular world were blurred, as confirmed by his last will and testament hardly suitable for a religious person, to such a degree that it induced the pope to declare his conduct as ‘unworthiness to the degree of cardinal’.