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Renaissance Studies

A «Festschrift» in Honor of Professor Edward J. Olszewski

Edited By Jennifer H. Finkel, Michael D. Morford and Dena M. Woodall

This Festschrift is dedicated to Edward J. Olszewski and was created by his former PhD students in gratitude and honor of a professor whose innovative and comprehensive research spans the Renaissance and Baroque periods. His research provided much insight to the arts, issues of patronage, conservation, and context. The text includes an array of topics conceived by each author while studying with Olszewski. His intense seminar on Michelangelo was the catalyst for many articles: Jennifer Finkel introduces new ideas regarding the proposed sculptural plan for the façade of San Lorenzo; Dena M. Woodall provides keen insight on the representations of genii on the Sistine Ceiling; Karen Edwards proposes the early creation of the figura serpentinata in Michelangelo’s own drawings and paintings; and Rachel Geshwind offers a new interpretation of his use of color symbolism in the Sistine Chapel. This seminar, and another on Mannerism, involved provocative discussion of the competitors of Michelangelo, where the foundation was laid for the much needed re-examination of Baccio Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus in Michael Morford’s article, which introduces the probability of Machiavellian influence, and Christine Corretti’s interpretation of Cellini’s Perseus and Medusa as the symbol of Cosimo’s I ideas of justice and the influence of women in his life. Olszewski’s own research on patronage, especially of the Ottoboni, mirrors Henrietta Silberger’s article on the collecting habits of Livio Odescalchi. Finally, Holley Witchey provides a personal experience in authenticating works of art in collections (a topic of interest for Olszewski) and ends her essay with a series of important questions for each of us to ask ourselves.

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The Odescalchi Collection: A Reexamination of Livio Odescalchi as a Collector and Patron HENRIETTA SILBERGER 147

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Henrietta Silberger The Odescalchi Collection: A Reexamination of Livio Odescalchi as a Collector and Patron The acquisition en bloc of the collection of Queen Christina of Sweden by Livio Odescalchi (1654-1713) (fig. 1) on January 6th, 1692 for 123,000 scudi catapulted this nephew of Pope Innocent XI and the family name, Odescalchi, into a place of prominence in the history of art collecting. Not only did Livio purchase one of the most renowned art assemblages in Europe at that time, but he also delayed the loss of a major Roman collection to other parts of Europe during a period of Roman decline as an artistic center. If, by analogy, the gathering and channeling of art into collections can be com- pared to an elaborate water system with holding tanks (representing collec- tions), filters (collectors’ artistic preferences), and connecting conduits (various agents and historical events), then, consistent with the usual repre- sentation of Livio Odescalchi in art history, he merely provided a Roman holding basin for Christina’s famous collection. The unpublished inventory drawn up after his death,1 however, suggests that this depiction of the Odes- calchi collection and of Livio as a collector is inaccurate and needs reexami- nation, if not downright revision.2 The fact that Livio’s collection greatly exceeded Christina’s in size3 indicates a remarkable degree of collecting ac- tivity between 1692 and 1713, if not earlier. Nevertheless, in art historical literature Livio Odescalchi remains an elusive, even neglected figure in con- trast to Queen Christina, whose flamboyant,...

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