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Giovanbattista della Palla

(c. 1485—1531)


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(b Florence, c. 1485; d Pisa, 1531). Italian diplomat and agent. He was a close friend of Giuliano de’ Medici and entered the service of Pope Leo X (reg 1513–21), although he subsequently joined the opposing Soderini faction. He went to France, where he won favour with Francis I, and in 1522 took part, from a distance, in the plot against Giulio de’ Medici, the future Pope Clement VII. After the Sack of Rome and the fall of the Medici in 1527, he acted as intermediary between the new government of Florence and Francis I, whose support was essential to the republic's survival. Well informed about the King's tastes in art, he procured for him ‘all kinds of antique objects and a variety of paintings, all by great masters’. Vasari, who related this in his Vita of Niccolò Tribolo (1500–50), stressed that ‘every day he sent caseloads of them’. Contemporary chroniclers, Jacopo Nardi (1476–after 1563) and Benedetto Varchi in particular, also accused him of having ‘plundered Florence’ for the King and even of having had ‘several marble statues’ removed from the house of the Rucellai, his former hosts. Vasari for his part mentioned commissions passed by della Palla to Tribolo, Jacopo da Pontormo (1494–1556), Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) and Ridolfo Ghirlandaio (1483–1561), as well as the purchase from Baccio Bandinelli (1493–1560) of a statue of Mercury and from the Strozzi of a Hercules by Michelangelo (1475–1564).

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From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.


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