Artists and patrons in Veronese s Wedding at Cana - The Wedding at Cana


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Artists and patrons in Veronese s Wedding at Cana

Tintoretto, i Grimani, and Alessandro Vittoria: Artists and patrons in Veronese's Wedding at Cana (1563)
Manuel Lafarga & Penélope Sanz
Introduction. A posthumous banquet to Giorgione.
The present work consists of three parts, although there is a rumour deep inside of each one connecting them since much before the events described, an abysmal echo out of dread and the ideological conflict that swept Europe all along the 16th-century.
1. Alessandro Vittoria. An sculptor coming from Trent
Alessandro Vittoria ― who was born in Trent and settled in Venice ― attained great reputation as a sculptor, portrayed many Italian, and specially Venetian coevals, and was in turn portrayed by renowned painters and friends.
2. Vittoria and Tintoretto. Two internationally renowned portraitists
Alessandro was the son of Vigilio Vittoria della Volpe, a tailor of Trent. He studied sculpture with some masters in his native city , and perhaps also with the Paduan sculptor Vincenzo Grandi , who made the choir of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Trent in 1534.
3. Giorgio da Castelfranco and the Grimani family
An essay by a Romantic author in 1867 points to Girolamo Grimani as the true commissioner of the canvas, possessing a previous version of The Wedding three years before 1562. This small picture would have fascinated the Abbot of San Giorgio during a visit to the private gallery of the Grimani family ― the gallery included Giorgione ‘s self-portrait as Goliath.
4. Danielle Barbaro, Reginald Pole and the last minute ghost
According to tradition, it is believed that the Barbaro brothers, Danielle and Marcantonio, would be among the commensals. Their family was a patron of the Order, like the Grimanis, as well as of the artists depicted on the canvas.
5. Jacopo Robusti “the Furious” and the Contarini family
In a “plastic” sense, Tintoretto was perhaps the most powerful member of the painting triumvirate who mastered the Venetian pictorical stage during the Seicento ― along with Titian and the Veronese.
6. The Benedictines in charge of the commission
Girolamo Scroguerro ‘s accepted countenance in "The Wedding"... He was probably the person in charge of making the commission in 1562. Ten years before, from 1551 to 1554, Girolamo occupied the same position as abbot in the monastery. He went later to the Santa Justina de Padua congregation until 1559, being then re-elected again in San Giorgio that same year.
Appendix 1. Biographical data
A. Domenico Grimani
B. Marcantonio Grimani
C. Andrea Meldolla, “Schiavone”
D. Girolamo Grimani
E. Giovanni VI Grimani
F. Tomasso Contarini
G. Giulio Contarini
H. Girolamo Contarini
I. Alvise Priuli
Appendix 2. Plates / Láminas
I Alessandro Vittoria: retratos. II Alessandro Vittoria: retratos. III Jacopo Tintoretto: autorretratos. IV Daniele Barbaro. V Daniele Barbaro. VI Marcantonio Barbaro. VII Gasparo Contarini. VIII Familia Contarini. IX Reginald Pole. X Reginald Pole. XI Familia Priuli. XII Girolamo Grimani. XIII Familia Grimani. XIV Giovanni VI Grimani. XV Domenico Grimani. XVI. Monjes Benedictinos. XVII Pintores-músicos venecianos. XVIII Músicos, pintores, y polígrafos. XIX Pietro Aretino. XX. Familia Navagero. XXI Trazado de la numeración de personajes. XXII Personajes identificados, según nuestro modelo. XXIII Las Bodas de Caná, 1563. XXIV Dramatis personae
Bibliography / Bibliografía
Biliographical resources
Alessandro Vittoria portrayed a large number of relevant contemporary characters in stone there in Venice, and at the same time, he was also portrayed by distinguished artists and friends. One of them, Paolo Caliari, included him in his formidable Wedding at Cana (1563) canvas, along with tens of Venetian and international authorities, renowned local Venetian artists, as well as ecclesiastical authorities and influential people associated to the Benedictine Order. For several decades, Alessandro was a regular collaborator to the author of the canvas and some of those depicted in there: We think that he could be the fifth commensal placed to the left of Jesus Christ.
The sculptor, who was dressed in red while holding a white napkin over his chest, directs his gaze forward towards the only figure showing his back and detached from the rest of the guests, in a sitting position, wearing a blue dress with white hair and beard. We attribute this identity to be the Venetian patrician Girolamo Grimani, protector of both the Benedictine Order and the San Giorgio Maggiore monastery. Besides being patron of some of the artists portrayed in the canvas, he probably was advocate of the commission as well, and who Vittoria himself depicted in terracotta during the years of the canvas completion.
So, in addition to Diego Ortiz and Giorgione, our model provides grounded evidence for the identification of nine new related characters, taking into account our previous one about the violinist of the central ensemble, Jacopo Robusti, also known as Tintoretto (to who we have restored his lost identity from Zanetti the Younger): Alessandro Vittoria, five more (Girolamo Grimani, Reginald Pole, Alvise Priuli, Giulia Gonzaga, and the Venetian architect Danielle Barbaro) mentioned by a Romantic source, and, apart from these, two more who we propose they can represent the other two members of the Grimani family. On the one side Domenico, already deceased, and who was a great collector of paintings, particularly of Giorgione ‘s works at the beginning of the century. On the other side Giovani Grimani, who was Patriarch of Aquilea for almost 50 years, however in a troubled way due to the inquisitorial trials set by the Roman Inquisition. We are also proposing that the two Benedictine monks who signed the contract could be depicted in the canvas.
Introduction: A posthumous banquet to Giorgione
The present work consists of three parts, although there is a rumour deep inside of each one connecting them since much before the events described, an abysmal echo out of dread and the ideological conflict that swept Europe all along the 16th-century.
The first part introduces the new guests, those we think have identified in the Paolo Caliari ‘s canvas [1] ― in order of appearance: Alessandro Vittoria [2], Girolamo Grimani [3], Reginald Pole [4], Alvise Priuli [5], Domenico Grimani [6], Giovanni Battista Grimani [7], Giulia Gonzaga [8], and Danielle Barbaro [9].
The second part is devoted to Tintoretto [10], known as “the Furious”, along with four more characters who had been already suggested and accepted: two artists ― Pietro Aretino [11] and Andrea Schiavone [12] ― plus the two Benedictine monks in charge of the commission ― Andrea Pampuro [13] and Girolamo Scroguerro [14] ―. Here, the deep rumour is by now a tumultuous stream, which will be progressively supported by our future works. We have included here also our proposal for the two monks who signed the canvas commission.
Figure 1. Giorgione ‘s silhouette holding his legendary lute in a silent attitude in The Wedding original design, before the arrival of Diego Ortiz to Venice. © Manuel Lafarga.
We have included two Appendices in the third part, in order to avoid further burden the text. The first one contains biographical information about some members of the Venetian family patrons alluded in the text, the Grimani and the Contarini, and also, on Andrea Meldolla (Schiavone). Considering they are minor characters in proportion and comparison to the painters in the central scene, we have contemplated the option of showing their life data to save the reader the exhausting task of ascertaining who they were and what they represented according to our argumentation.
The second Appendix contains portraits of many of the alluded characters in the text, most of them portrayed by Tintoretto, the Veronese, and Alessandro Vittoria. Likewise, we considered a better option to derive them to the end of the document, to avoid burden the visual discourse: its mere existence confirms and complements the close relations we are documenting among all of them.
After the introduction of the five musicians who perform in the Wedding ‘s instrumental consort [15], together with Benedetto Caliari [16] also in a later publication [17], we introduce in this new work a total amount of 15 characters more (4 of them previously known and accepted in the literature) observed in the report of our studies on the Veronese ‘s [18] immense work. Probably the one that granted him the highest renown with no interruption until our own days.
The eventual presence of his colleague and competitor Tintoretto in the canvas has given rise to many confusions since, at the end of the 18th Century [19], his identity was misattributed to the bearded man dressed in a green dress who played behind the author. Instead, we think that we have correctly identified this person as Diego Ortiz [20].
We firmly believe to have restored Tintoretto ‘s “true” identity as a violinist after 250 years of confusion with Ortiz ‘s portrait [21]. Due to his having a close relationship with some of the main characters in the canvas, particularly Alessandro Vittoria, we have included him together with the renowned Trentine sculptor, whose presence we had already announced in a veiled way in our previous publication [22].
Tintoretto suffered some rejection in his times on account of his new avant-garde style, a condition which did not prevent the Veronese to include him in one of the main roles on his famous canvas. Ridolfi [23] devoted to him exclusively the first of his “biographies” near half a century after his death, followed by those of Veronese in the same way [24] with collective editions about other painters from the Italian Seicento.
The Appendices which are committed to them does not pretend to be comprehensive biographical reviews, but only updates related the context of our research work.
Therefore, to illustrate Tintoretto ‘s innovative, and in some way, radical condition, which made him clearly different to his Venetian colleagues, we have also included some of his more representative works related to our discourse.
Likewise, we have preferred to specify and clarify his musician side, following the tradition of Venetian painters already before the times of Giorgione [25]. This topic is not an incidental one ― the probability, rather than the possibility, of the painters present in the canvas were also musicians because they belonged to the Venetian scope. Therefore, it must not be considered as a mere legend [26].
Therefore, we have included a brief update of Tintoretto ‘s fondness to the musical arts and as well of his eventual relationhips to relevant musicians from his time. Among them, Gioseffo Zarlino, who was possibly a frequent guest at his home [27], and the organist of San Giorgio Maggiore, Giulio Zacchino [28], who was in charge of musical instruction for his daughter Marietta [29]. She was also an excellent musician and painter, as she was required as “chamber painter” by two emperors.
However, Marietta declined both offers because of her will to remain in Venice along with his father. Tintoretto was one of the great, perhaps the greatest, which implied both a breaking and a continuity with the century he was living in.
Alessandro Vittoria was the first of our new guests we recognised in a portrait of him made by the Veronese, and, at the same time, Girolamo Grimani ‘s bust that was modelled in terracota by Alessandro during the same period as the canvas, in conjunction with the partial enumeration of characters left by the collector and antiquary Henry F. Holt [30]. These three facts granted this first group of characters presented in this report to secure coherence and to be able to emerge, lightening once more with anticipation our path.
Thus, thanks to a “new legend” [31] (this time a presumed romantic invention which has been discredited until now) we firmly believe to have recognised and located Reginald Pole, the “angelical cardinal” [32], and his inseparable friend and secretary Alvise Priuli, whose independent portrait from the canvas we hitherto [33] haven ‘t managed to locate.
So, this is the second one of a number of essays which will progressively introduce to several groups of the activities and concerns appearing at The Wedding [34]. Besides some artists such as Vittoria, Aretino and Schiavone, it also includes the Grimanis, Barbaros, and Contarinis, three of the most relevant Venetian families for our own enterprise [35].
Pietro Aretino was a public figure who had links an relations to many of the characters present in The Wedding. However, we are not devoting here his detailed biographical review. In our opinion, he deserves a separate and independent covering, which we will bring in a future [36]. In this way, the author ‘s reasons to include him in so outstanding place for the observer ‘s gaze remain postponed to the incoming works in the context of our model. We have introduced him here because he was an “artist”, the same as the painter-musicians were, and because connected by friendship and relationship, but especially because his identification (as that of Schiavone) was already accepted.
These circumstances allowed us to make a recount of the accepted identities in the canvas to our days, including our own contributions.
In addition to his notable and outstanding presence in the Veronese ‘s Wedding, the Aretin was portrayed on paintings three times: by Titian [37], by Tintoretto, and by Miguel Angel in the Final Judgement fresco at the Sixtine Chapel of Rome [38]. He was also carved on a bust and over high relief (over the door of the sacristy of San Marcos) by Jacopo Sansovino [39], and by Alessandro Vittoria in one of his famous medals [40].
Regarding the architects, including the Barbaro brothers, also Alessandro Vittoria and someone else ― as Palladio, e.g., whom we are saying nothing at the moment [41] ―, we have decided to derive them to other work in course, devoted to their own art in relation to The Wedding. There, the functions of “visual architect” corresponded to the Veronese ‘s brother, Benedetto Caliari. For this reason, those alluded in this paragraph does not appear in the Appendices with their detailed biographical registers. This is also true for Reginald Pole, whose figure will make a new appearance in the future in the canvas plot.
The situation is different for Tintoretto, to whom we have devoted an important section in here. We will not return to him during our future discourse, except to remember his probability of involvement with the Venetian pro-reformist currents, the monks of San Giorgio, and those of Madonna dell’ Orto.
Readers must not fear this procedure: there are many guests and the plot is truly complex. The exposition order is equally important as the clarity of the discourse, in order to introduce all the characters in a correct and coherent context. This task will be better accomplished keeping them grouped in their respective arts, jobs, or “benefits” [42].
The information, which links some of our protagonists to inquisitorial processes, is argued neither as a curiosity nor without enough reasons: instead, it keeps a very deep relation to the history of the Order and to the ultimate motivations for the canvas.
It is interesting to observe, e.g., that Alvise Priuli is the one looking at the miraculous wine, besides Benedetto. Alvise suffered continuous blockages from the Roman authorities because of his proximity to the Neapolitan circle of Juan de Valdés [43], and he was not indicted presumably because he died earlier.
The parallelism between his situation and Giovanni Grimani ‘s [44] is not less compelling, attending both their hold dangerous friendships and the Roman curia ‘s attitude to confront against the Venetian Senate. These issues, in conjunction with Cardinal Pole and other characters not revealed yet, are issues that will come out again and with more relevance in future works, which will be devoted to the last motivations for the canvas by the Benedictine Order.
The feasible relation of Tintoretto to Venetian heterodox trends in the previous decades to the completion of the canvas, the processes described in the text (Giovanni Grimani, Giulio Contarini [45], Andrea Pampuro, Alvise Priuli), and even the possible poisoning of Gasparo Contarini [46], according to Bernardino Ochino [47] (when he visited him before his escape from Italy), are part of the plot on The Wedding. The same is true for other future processes and deaths, which will be described at a later stage, on their precise moment and “placement”, all them framed inside the original model derived from our observations, our thesis, and our discourse.
If our current conjectures would be true, up to three Patriarchs of Aquileia would be present at The Wedding: one of them from Giorgione ‘s times (Domenico); another one, Danielle Barbaro, “acting” as an eventual substitute for his uncle Giovanni VI Grimani; and the most relevant in the canvas time, meaning the Council of Trent, Giovanni VI himself ― in fact the Patriarch for a period of half a century, although “disabled” during long periods of times because of his friendship to certain relevant people related to spirituali [48].
Some of our protagonists’ network relations ― apart from the Benedictine Order ― like Titian, Aretin, or the emperor Charles V [49], with some of the most relevant characters of the pro-reformist currents later suppressed is known, and it will be taking form in a progressive way along the articulation of our future discourse.
With due respect to the Veronese and Titian, as well as to everything they represent in the history of our own culture, we consider ourselves to be authorised to give no details ― neither now nor in the future except for precise and pertinent allusions to our discourse [50] ― in their respective and avoided biographies until now. The reason for this is their current notoriety and the exhaustive literacy brought to us nowadays, quite differently to some of the rest of their colleagues in the canvas (e.g. Schiavone).
The relations of these artists with the mentioned patrons and the political and religious authorities present in the canvas were, nearly in all cases, beyond the mere professional commissions and of what is described in this text. Most of them achieved the status of intimate friendship. To mention a few of them: that of Tintoretto with Alessandro Vittoria and Schiavone; the confidential friendship among Titian, Pietro Aretino and Charles V; that of the Veronese with Girolamo Gimani; or that of Andrea Palladio with the Barbaro brothers, especially with Daniele.
So, a series of interrelated essays will follow the present one in a near future [51]. They will introduce other characters and intellectual or “ideologic” collectives progressively in the context of Italian Cinquecento: architects [52], Aretino and the international political authorities [53], Benedictine monks, ecclesiastical authorities [54] and cardinals [55], and even a last and hidden network related to the ultimate motivation of the canvas.
Very soon, at some point of this singular saga which was codified near 500 years ago in an unparalleled canvas, we will also review some of the legends which were gathering dust over the shelves of memory and oblivion [56] for centuries. Their remains have allowed us to lock, to weave, and to articulate our conjectures along with all that we have found in the canvas.
In this way, Giorgione ― our first “light” and our guide “inside” the canvas when Ortiz was removed ― will enjoy a renewed life before starting the road which leads to the identification of almost all the Veronese ‘s guests. Thus, when this complex puzzle is finally solved, we will expose the connexions among them that register, in our opinion, its ultimate motivation, namely, Saint Benedict Order ‘s real intention.
Giorgione, with his early appearance, ended up possessing us like a true ghost, a truthful reflexion of both his presence in the Cinquecento ‘s Venice and his actual “meaning” for his time and contemporary fellows, and henceforth the history of Western art. Therefore, he ignited inside us the seed of a tempesta, which we have not been able to contain, and which will be triggered progressively and increasingly through the successive publications in course.
The presence of a certain number of really relevant identities in the international stage of that period of time, who were linked to the reformist movement called spirituali Alfonso d’ Avalos [57], Mary Tudor [58], Vittoria Colonna [59], Carlos V (their main protector), Danielle Barbaro, Giulia Gonzaga, Marcantonio Barbaro [60], Andrea Pampuro, Girolamo Scroguerro (?), Giovanni Grimani, Reginald Pole, and Alvise Priuli, among others not revealed yet [61] among them ― enables us to presume the canvas to be a response to the problems that the Order (and for many of the characters here depicted) were facing against the Roman inquisitorial authorities during the precedent decades of the commission and beyond.
As a whole, the picture could be interpreted as a representative pamphlet of Venice confronting the Roman power. It highlighted the free and distinctive religious, political and artistic environment of the city that welcomed Giorgione, Aretin, the most powerful international authorities of its period of time, and all the pro-reformist currents of the Cinquecento. Among them, the erudite Benedictine tradition stood out strongly since long time before.
1. Alessandro Vittoria. An sculptor coming from Trent
Figure 2. Right lower section of the canvas from the observer. Benedetto Caliari stands up to the left, holding the miraculous wine. Alessandro Vittoria, in red, holds a white napkin over his chest. Facing him at the corner of the table, Girolamo Grimani is depicted in blue from behind (center). The figure at the right lower corner from the observer, in yellow and green, is probably Domenico Grimani.
Alessandro Vittoria ― who was born in Trent and settled in Venice ― attained great reputation as a sculptor, portrayed many Italian, and specially Venetian coevals, and was in turn portrayed by renowned painters and friends. One of them, Paolo Caliari, included him in The Wedding at Cana monumental canvas, along with some tens of Venetian and international authorities, Venetian renowned artists, as well as ecclesiastical authorities and influential persons linked to the Benedictine Order.
Alessandro was a regular collaborator of the author of the canvas and some of the personages depicted on it ― among them the painters Titian, Tintoretto, and Schiavone [62] ― as well as the architects Palladio and Sansovino. Besides, he undertook commissions from some of the probable patrons of the canvas, such as the Venetian families Barbaro, Contarini, and Grimani.
We think that he is the fifth commensal to the left of Jesus Christ. He is dressed in red holding a white napkin over his chest ― Figures 2 and 3, and number 5  in Figures 8 and 20. He is staring straight ahead at the only figure who shows his back and is seated apart from the rest of the guests, in a blue dress, with white hair and beard (Fig. 2).
We are suggesting that this person could be the Venetian patrician Girolamo Grimani, who was the protector of both Veronese and some of the artists represented in the canvas, of the Benedictine monastery and, possibly, of the commission. In turn, the Grimani family had patronised Giorgione at the beginning of the century.
Paolo Caliari probably portrayed Vittoria during the decade after the canvas completion ― perhaps in 1575 [63] (Plate I.C) in one of his most distinctive works following the Venetian artistic tradition, which was characterized for their artist ‘s skill to depict the physical appearance of other artists [64]. This dating is based on the age presumption ― around 50-years-old ― and on the eventual previous presence of a much younger Veronese sculptor [65] on this portrait, although the portrait of Vittoria could have easily been made only a few years after the completion of The Wedding, around 1566 [66].
Alfred M. Frankfurter successfully identified the personage depicted by Veronese after the exhibition at the Cleveland Museum in 1937 [67].
Vittoria himself made his own bust to decorate his funeral monument at the church of San Zacarias. The work was completed in 1605, three years before his death. This piece shows that both Paolo ‘s and Alessandro ‘s works probably represent the same person, despite the 30-year gap between them [68].
In his tomb, this bust symbolizing Sculpture was placed between the other two statues representing Painting and Architecture, two arts that he also practised, albeit to a lesser degree.
2. Vittoria and Tintoretto. Two internationally renowned portraitists
Figure 3a. Alessandro Vittoria according to our genuine proposal. Down: Alessandro Vittoria by Paolo Caliari, c. 1580, MET. AN 46.3.
Alessandro was the son of Vigilio Vittoria della Volpe, a tailor of Trent. He studied sculpture with some masters in his native city [69], and perhaps also with the Paduan sculptor Vincenzo Grandi [70], who made the choir of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Trent in 1534.
He arrived in Venice on Saint James ‘s day in July 1543, according to his detailed personal diary, which he continued to write until his death. Besides, his life is depicted through a large number of contemporary documents and signed works. He also carried out commissions in Verona and Padua, and he was in Trent and Vincenza in 1552. Alessandro, however, remained in Venice all along his life.
His patron at Trent seems to have been Cristoforo Madruzzo [71]. However, it was Titian who introduced him to Jacopo Sansovino, the most renowned sculptor and architect in the city, who accepted Vittoria as an apprentice and assistant [72]. He was admitted at the Scuola of carvers and sculptors in 1557. From that moment to his death 50 years later, he portrayed on stone many members of Venetian families and he was also admired for his work on numberless medals.
Aretino himself, who posed as a model for one medallion (who is also depicted in The Wedding [73]), recommended him to a noblewoman with the indication that the King of Spain [74] and his family (his cousin and brother-in-law the Emperor Maximilian [75], and his own grandson [76]) were among his customers.
His fame went hand in hand with that of Tintoretto, so that they became the two favourite portraitists for the Venetian aristocracy in the 1560s [77]. Both pursued their activities in a parallel way during five decades and frequently shared patrons and the same circle of friends [78].
Alessandro was a reputed collector of portraits which were exhibited in his house for the clients. He had bought the building from a nobleman and remodelled it in 1569 (increasing its value) and he resided there to his death. His private portrait collection ― the biggest one of his time, which included around 50 pieces [79] ― was exposed indoors.
Many of them were self-portraits, which were acquired or received from other contemporary authors [80], such as Parmigianino [81], Jacopo Bassano [82], Il Veronese, or Tintoretto.
He also stood out at making small statues as those he is holding in three of his portraits by coeval painters (Plate I.B.C.D). This category of portraits for sculptors was cultivated also by Tintoretto, Titian, and Veronese. All of them were present, perhaps along with Bassano, in The Wedding at Cana.
Figure 3a. Alessandro Vittoria according to our genuine proposal. Down: Alessandro Vittoria by Paolo Caliari, c. 1580, MET. AN 46.3.
Alessandro was a regular collaborator of the two most renowned Venetian architects, Sansovino and Palladio. He made it with Sansovino to his death [83]: from 1553 to 1555, both worked together in the caryatids decorating the gate of the Marciana Library, now the doorway to the Royal Palace. They both erected a bronze statue of Tomasso Rangone [84] on the front of the Church of San Zulian in Venice [85].
The sculptor, who was a friend and partner of Tintoretto, had a self-portrait of him in his youth. One of Tintoretto ‘s followers, Lodovico Pozzoserrato [86], made an engraving after one of the painter ‘s self-portraits and devoted it to Alessandro.
Around 1560, he collaborated with Palladio and Veronese making the stuccos of Villa Barbaro, and again at Villa Giustiniana in Portobuffolé. Two years before the commission of The Wedding, he had worked again with Paolo Caliari at the Church of San Geminiano in Venice: Alessandro made a bust of Benedetto Manzini [87], whose facial features were used by Veronese for the figure of San Severo, intended for the decoration of the organ shutters [88].
During the two years (1561-1562) before the canvas commencement, Alessandro made two marble statues of saints for the altar of the Church of San Francesco della Vigna (Saint Rocco and Saint Sebastian) [89], and one for the Basilica of Santa Maria dei Frari (Saint Jerome). In addition, he carved the four apostles placed over the main door in the main nave of San Giorgio Maggiore. The Wedding was intended for the dining-room of this church, where Veronese was to start his work. In turn, Palladio (who had got the commission for the painter) was in charge of the rearrangement works of the nave, the refectory, and one of the two cloisters.
Two decades later, Veronese and Alessandro worked together once more in a new commission ― entirely similar to that of the Manzini family in 1560 ― for the funeral chapel of Girolamo Grimani. This chapel was devoted by Marino Grimani [90] to his already deceased father, Girolamo, who had been previously portrayed by Vittoria, our sculptor. We are proposing that Girolamo could be present on the canvas, as well.
3. Giorgio da Castelfranco and the Grimani family
Figure 4a. Bust of Girolamo Grimani, by Alessandro Vittoria, ca. 1560-70. Pinacoteca Manfrediana, Patriarchal Seminary, Venice.
Figure 4b. Bust of Girolamo Grimani, by Alessandro Vittoria, ca. 1560-70. Pinacoteca Manfrediana, Patriarchal Seminary, Venice.
An essay by a Romantic author in 1867 [91] points to Girolamo Grimani as the true commissioner of the canvas, possessing a previous version of The Wedding three years before 1562. This small picture would have fascinated the Abbot of San Giorgio during a visit to the private gallery of the Grimani family [92] ― the gallery included Giorgione ‘s self-portrait as Goliath [93].
Furthermore, it reveals that the picture arrived in England in 1798 [94], along with a note stuck on the back indicating its provenance, the name of some of the personages currently admitted on the canvas, and the mention of the year 1559. In the essay, undoubtedly a well-informed opus at the time, three of these personages are precisely listed: Reginald Pole, Girolamo Grimani, and Alvise Priuli [95].
Girolamo was a distinguished representative of the Grimani family, which had two members attaining the condition of Dux of the Serenissima [96]. He ordered the building for the huge palace of the family on the Grand Canal bank (one of the most admired in the Renaissance). During the period in which Veronese completed The Wedding, he was a Procurator of Saint Mark in the Council of Ten, a position just under that of the Dux.

Marino (Dux), his son, entrusted Francesco Smeraldi [97] with the renovation of the apse of San Giuseppe di Castello in Venice in the 1580s, in order to place his own tomb there. His father had died ten years earlier, when he had started the works at the chapel with a choir devoted to his memory; the altar embraced a picture by Veronese ― The Adoration of the Shepherds [98] ― and a marble bust of Girolamo by Alessandro Vittoria was placed on the left side of the choir [99].
There is a receipt of 6th August 1573, from Vittoria to Marino, related to this marble bust [100]. However, an identical terracotta bust from the family ‘s palace, currently at the Patriarchal Seminary of Venice (Fig. 4), seems to have been a previous work for private use by Vittoria himself before Girolamo ‘s death in 1570. This piece was later used as a model for the marble version delivered in 1573 [101]. Ten years earlier, in 1563, Alessandro had also sculpted the Victories which decorate ― still in our days ― the pendentives of the front door at the familiar palace [102]. This commission shows that he also worked for the Grimanis of San Luca, at least after the Wedding at Cana was completed.

Giovanni VI Grimani ― who could be likewise represented in the canvas [103] ― was the Bishop of Ceneda from 1520 to 1531, and later again from 1540 to 1545. After that, he was elected Patriarch of Aquileia (the highest Venetian ecclesiastical authority) until 1550 [104], a position which he would hold again from 1585 to 1593. He was accused before the Inquisition in 1549, with the charge of “crypto-lutheran”, which forced him to quit.
Figure 5. Marino Grimani dux wellcoming Persian ambassadors. Carletto and Gabriele Caliari 1603. Venice, Ducal Palace.
The charges were based upon his relationship to Bernardino Ochino and Pier Paolo Vergerio [105], both of whom promoted and spread the edition of Beneficio di Cristo [106]. The indictments were discarded three years later, in 1552. However, a new trial against him took place in 1561. He was finally acquitted again [107] through his own defending at Trent in 1563, during the last Council announcement.
On account of his future promotion to the position of cardinal, he commissioned Tintoretto to paint his portrait already dressed as a prelate ― Plate XIV.C. The picture must have pleased him, as that same year Giovanni entrusted the painter with his Deposition of Christ for the Church of San Francesco della Vigna [108]. Our proposal is that he could be the character leaning out between the columns on the right (Fig. 6), in line with the commensals and close to his two relatives (Fig. 20), as it will be showed below.
We also suggest that his “semi-hidden” position could be related to the trial which he was experiencing at Trent during the development of the canvas, for his relevance as the highest Venetian religious authority, yet “relieved” of his position [109].
Figure 6 Giovanni Grimani, Jacopo and Domenico Tintoretto ‘s workshop. Trent, Tridentine Diocesan Museum.
Giovanni had a refined culture and was a great collector, who increased the high quality and prestige of the family´s art gallery, following the trail of one of his deceased predecessors, his uncle Domenico Grimani [110] (Fig. 7).
During his times, Domenico had acquired works of Leonardo [111], Giorgione, Titian, Hans Memling [112], El Bosco [113], and Rafael [114] for his family.
We postulate, in the same way, the addition of his presence at Girolamo ‘s right in The Wedding [115].
He was as well friends with Dürer [116], who presumably included him in one of his canvas [117].
The Gentleman Magazine ‘s indication ― related to the alleged previous small canvas version ― allowed us to confirm for the first time the identity of Girolamo Grimani (Fig. 4).
The description is rather curious because it seems to avoid in different parts two personages on the current canvas [118]: either the one standing up, who is looking at the miraculous wine held by Benedetto Caliari in front of himself, or that who seems to be looking out of the canvas (in yellow and green) to the right corner of the table [119] ― Figure 2.
The author seems to be suggesting that Girolamo is this last figure. However, we think that he is the only character who is seated showing his back, dressed in blue on the current canvas, with a bald head and a white beard (Fig. 2). Please note that two persons are looking at one cup containing the miraculous wine.
The one standing up looks at the cup of Benedetto (He could be Alvise Priuli, according to Gentleman), and the one seated, in blue, looks at the wine held by a page-boy under Benedetto ‘s right arm (We are postulating this second figure as Girolamo).
In addition, we are proposing de novo the identity of commensal number 13 (Figs. 2, 8 and 20), placed at the corner of the table to the left of Jesus Christ; we think that he could be the already deceased Domenico Grimani (Fig. 7) [120].
Figure 7. Up: Domenico and Marino Grimani by Palma the Young, h. 1578. Venice, Gallery of the Academy. Down: detail from The Wedding.
Neither Girolamo nor Domenico plays the same role as the rest of the commensals seated to both sides of Jesus Christ: The 12 personages to his right ― not including Mary the Virgin ― mostly represent Italian and international political authorities whereas, according both to the Gentleman Magazine ‘s and our own point of view, the 12 figures to his left represent the apostles, probably clergymen related to the Order. The last one should be Reginald Pole (number 12, Figs. 8 and 20).
However, according to our interpretation, both Grimanis were added after the figure of Pole, thus breaking the symmetry of the 12 commensals at each side of the table. We think that Girolamo is present ― like Giovanni ― as a coeval patron for the canvas and for some other artists of the period (e.g. the Veronese, Tintoretto and Vittoria, as we have already mentioned, and also Palladio [121]), as well as for the Benedictine Order since the Grimanis were one of their biggest protectors. [122].
They were also patrons for the already deceased painter Giorgione when he arrived in the city as a young man [123]. Furthermore, we are proposing that the second Grimani (Domenico) was coeval with Giorgione ― and also with Titian ― during the first decade of 1500. Besides, he was a patron for their pictures and collected them for the renowned art gallery of his family [124].
Figure 8. The personages from The Wedding already mentioned are shown in yellow (1563) at the right half of the canvas. Reginald Pole is the commensal number 12, while Domenico (13) and Girolamo Grimani (14) do not have any correspondents to the right of Jesus Christ, where there are only 12 seated personages at the table. Alvise Priuli, following our interpretation, is shown below. The face to the right with no caption is that of who we are suggesting as Giovanni Grimani. The heads in green correspond probably to servants, whereas the blue heads represent figures with no face. The numbers indicate the position of the commensals to the left of Jesus Christ.
Figure 8. The personages from The Wedding already mentioned are shown in yellow (1563) at the right half of the canvas. Reginald Pole is the commensal number 12, while Domenico (13) and Girolamo Grimani (14) do not have any correspondents to the right of Jesus Christ, where there are only 12 seated personages at the table. Alvise Priuli, following our interpretation, is shown to the left. The face to the right with no caption is that of who we are suggesting as Giovanni Grimani. The heads in green correspond probably to servants, whereas the blue heads represent figures with no face. The numbers indicate the position of the commensals to the left of Jesus Christ.
In relation to the eventual presence of Giovanni behind the column, we have already pointed to the politic/religious motivations both for the canvas and the Republic, in addition to the fact of being the Patriarch of Aquileia (even “disabled”) for an interval of nearly 50 years [125].
Our current conjecture is that this new “legend”, which appeared in a Romantic publication, could contain, like some others, a rest or a piece of the truth ― in this case, the presence of Girolamo as a patron (in addition to other personages).
However, with the passing of the years, Girolamo could have been displaced [126], according to the data presented by this author (Holt). The omission of one or another personage, even at the central scene and according to the criterion of each author, has not been an impediment nor any objection for the attempts to identify them in the literature up to our days, as we have already shown [127].
Figure 9. Feast of Rose Garlands, by Albrecht Dürer, 1506. National Gallery of Prague, AN O1552.
In fact, the Holt ‘s story seems to contain true data which are currently verified, along with some hypothesis which are probably his own interpretation [128]. However, in the same way that the Boschini ‘s legend one century later the canvas completion contained a piece of the “truth” related to the painters of the central scene [129], and in a similar way as Colbert heared another one three years earlier at San Giorgio Maggiore ― this one related to Giorgione [130] ―, we think it is not improbable that this same circumstance could be real also in other cases, e.g., this one we are dealing with, in addition to the usual mistakes and displacements inherent to this kind of stories.

Even if The Wedding (1563) was devoted to Giorgione almost until its completion [131], as we have already argued, Holt´s hypothesis for the canvas’ motivation ― the previous existence of a similar but much smaller design [132] ― does not seem implausible to us. Indeed, since the making of small pictures with the expectative to obtain bigger commissions was a frequent praxis, both designs could have existed at the same time, being put together in the final commission, which finally included some kind of reaction by the Benedictines to the Italian religious conflicts up to the Council of Trent [133].
4. Danielle Barbaro, Reginald Pole and the last minute ghost
According to tradition, it is believed that the Barbaro brothers, Danielle and Marcantonio [134], would be among the commensals [135]. Their family was a patron of the Order, like the Grimanis, as well as of the artists depicted on the canvas.
They began to build their villa at Maser two years before the commission of The Wedding by the Benedictines. The building provoked the astonishment of coevals and continues to do so nowadays. It was planned by Palladio and decorated by Veronese and Alessandro Vittoria, as the main specialists in their artistic fields.
Danielle was portrayed by Titian (Plate V.C) and Veronese (Plate V.D) ― and Marcantonio by Tintoretto (Plate VI.B) ―, while holding the edition of Marco Vitruvio ‘s books [136], which Danielle himself had translated (and commented) into Italian in 1556 and Palladio had illustrated [137].
Danielle was renown as one of the great polymaths in the period and the publication solved many of the problems faced by architects and scholars for the interpretation of the works by Vitruvio. The Roman has been a source of inspiration for a lot of public and private buildings during centuries.
The original text had to be reconstructed from manuscripts containing many mistakes by the copists. The illustrations, which were the key for understanding relevant sections, were lost and the Greek terminology used by the author had to be reinterpreted.
Figure 10. Danielle Barbaro in blue according to our interpretation.
Yet, the biggest problems derived from Vitruvio ‘s wide knowledge of Roman science and technology [138], which was inaccessible up to that moment. Indeed, those problems kept the Renaissance architects very busy during 150 years and the solution to those questions shed light on the work of an erudite who was educated on a wide range of disciplines present in the treatise. Such a synthesis was accomplished by Danielle along with his protégé Palladio [139].
Francesco Sansovino [140] included Daniele and Palladio, together with his own father Jacopo, as the three best architects of their time. We are proposing that Danielle Barbaro could be the fifth commensal to Jesus’ right, a bearded man sitting in profile, with blue dress and skullcap (Fig. 10) [141].
Danielle received his doctorate from the University of Padua in 1540 and was Ambassador of the Republic of Venetia at the English court of Edward VI [142] from April 1549 to March 1551 [143].
He was elected coadjutor of the already alluded Patriarch of Aquileia, Giovanni Grimani, in 1550, which endowed him with a right to the succession, which he preserved to his death, 23 years before the decease of his uncle. Furthermore, Danielle was Ambassador of the Serenissima in several occasions during the last announcement of the Council of Trent, as Giovanni was indicted in a new trial [144].
In February 1561, two years before the Benedictine commission, Pius IV appointed him cardinal in pectore (secretly) [145]. Nevertheless, the Pope never made public his decision in order to avoid diplomatic conflicts. He was a member of the triumvirate which governed the artistic activity in the city during the years of the canvas completion, along with Titian and Sansovino, the official painter and architect of the Serenissima, respectively.
We are proposing in addition, that his gesture (Figure 10, holding some kind of cutlery, in the upright position on the table) before the careful gaze of the commensal to his right, could represent some geometrical and/or architectonic observation.
Thus, this new personage could have some relevant bonding with architecture or with some of the stonecutters ― sculptors and architects ― depicted on the canvas [146].
A careful observation of the instrument which Danielle seems to be holding reveals curious details: a) both the commensal to his right and the lady behind him ― perhaps Giulia Gonzaga [147] ― are watching attentively, fixing their gazes on his handling; b) Danielle does not hold the handle of the piece of “cutlery” in a vertical position, and indeed he does not touch it; c) two thin threads linked to his right thumb seems to maintain the utensil in the upright position without any contact; d) although the base of the tool is not visible, it could be a kind of pendulum in consequence [148].
From the granted “tradition” related to some of these personages, you can infer that both Barbaro brothers occupy adjacent positions. However, we think that this assumption is not plausible [149].
Zanetti does not mention them, nor Giulia Gonzaga, nor Reginald Pole [150]. It is true that they are frequently quoted in the current literature, albeit without references to the sources.
Figure 11. Reginald Pole with the pope Paolo III, by Jacopino Del Conte, c. 1537. Roma, Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana.
The only reference to the presence of these four personages on the canvas which we have tracked is that of the antiquarian and art collector Henry F. Holt.
This source has been used de facto though it is a “discredited” one and has been ignored to our days. However, it has allowed us to identify some of the personages we are introducing here.
Conversely, we conjecture that the position which he seemingly attributes to Marcantonio is not right: it can be appreciated in Figure 10 that the commensal to Danielle ‘s right is much older than him.
This is a contradictory circumstance taking into account their respective ages. A conjecture which can easily be verified by contrasting Marcantonio´s face with his portrait by Tintoretto 30 years after the canvas completion (Plate VI.B) [151].
Lastly, the unfaced yellow head which shows only his nose (Fig. 12: in blue at Figs. 8 and 20) and looks upward between the apostles 9 and 10 does not seem to be a plausible figure since it has no place there. Therefore, we have considered him as a “ghost” and not as one of the twelve “apostles”. We think that this figure was included at the end, like that of Andrea da Asolo (7) [152]. One reason, perhaps the lightest one, could be the contract exigence to include so many heads (teste) as possible, which would imply that this head was just another final addition. He may have been added at the same time as the red lady who is dropping white flowers from above, to whom he is directing his gaze: the character number 8, and perhaps also the number 9 (Figs. 2, 8 and 20), seems to be overlapping him and looks also to the flowers falling down in front of himself.
So, these four figures could be symbolically related [153]. One last reason ― perhaps the most relevant if it would be true ―, could be the fact that the inclusion of this faceless figure turns Cardinal Pole into the apostle number 13 [154].
Figure 12. The yellow “ghost” commensal without face looks upward together with numbers 8 and 9.
5. Jacopo Robusti “the Furious” and the Contarini family
In a “plastic” sense, Tintoretto was perhaps the most powerful member of the painting triumvirate who mastered the Venetian pictorical stage during the Seicento ― along with Titian and the Veronese.
Just as his two partners’ productions, his own work spread all along the second half of the century. However, he confronted different circumstances, which prevented him to get the same acknowledgment from his coevals.
Ridolfi devoted him the first exclusive biography nearly fifty years after his death [155] ― while, despite being born at Venice, unlike his two colleagues, he did not appear in the previous literary works dedicated to the Italian painters (Vasari and others) [156].
In this way, Ridolfi was most probable restoring the excellence that was denied to Tintoretto during his times because of his daring and “avant-garde” style regarding design and colour, and individual style (maniera) which clearly drew a distinction from his colleagues.
It is probable that Vasari would knew Tintoretto, at least, during his second visit to the city [157] according to the epithets devoted to him: a man with a “terribile cervello”, “stravaganze” and of “capricciose” inventions [158]. However, the only reference to his figure appears inserted in the biography of another less renowned Venetian painter [159], who was included in the second edition of his famous Lives.
Figure 13. Saint Marcos liberating the slave, 1548. Accademia Gallery, Venice, Cat.42.
Tintoretto was called “the Furious”, not only for his frantic artistic production but also for his dramatic and vertiginous use of the perspective, for his twisted bodies following Miguel Angel ‘s and the Roman school ‘s “maniera”, his distinctive light effects ― frequently overstating the light-dark contrast and the crudity of the colours ― and his continuous avoidance of symmetry and conventional canons of the pictorial tradition.
He was the son of a cloth and tissue dyer. This circumstance favoured the nickname that would identify him in the future (lit. “small dyer”). Unlike other coevals who had ennobled their origins with additions to their surnames [160], Tintoretto, on the other hand, promoted himself alluding to the tradition of Venetian workshops related to his father ‘s job.
He was the firstborn of the 21 children from Battista the dyer, whose wife ‘s name is unknown to us [161].
After contemplating his drawings on the walls of his own workshop when he was a child, his father brought him to Titian ‘s studio as an apprentice in 1533. However, it seems that their relationship was not in good terms, and Titian, perhaps jealous of the creative genius displayed by his new disciple, dismissed him and condemned him with these words: “he would never be more than a bad painter” [162].
Tintoretto, who always respected the name of his first tutor, did not look for another workshop or a new master and continued his training on his own, living in poverty, and collecting casts and statuettes, some of them articulated, which he studied and worked with, and continued using later for his leaned designs and figures.
He opened his own workshop a few years later at Venice, with an inscription at the door advertising for the attributes which he wished to promote in his products: “Miguel Angel ‘s design, and Titian ‘s colouring” [163].
Tintoretto had a unusual talent for the invention and speed performing, and he frequently dispensed with the previous design, solving the composition in situ, in real time and at once [164].
His procedure could had been the cause both for Titian ‘s contemptuous commentary and for some of his coevals’ rejection. A “coarse” and apparently neglected finishing can be appreciated in some of his pictures, opposed to other scenes perfectly traced, in his master ‘s way, and the usual practice for as refined products as the Venetian big commissions. Nevertheless, he captivated his native city through his architectures and his inflated and distorted geometries, and his colours in a dramatic contrast. He was a prolific painter with a surprising number of portraits and pictures, many of them being big-sized ones, for the best Venetian confraternities.
His first reference as “independent painter” dates from 1539, however, he used to collaborate with Andrea Schiavone free of charge during his youth [165]. This was a way to promote himself that he frequently cultivated since he even gave away his own products, as he did with some of his first frescoes (now lost), and later on with San Rocco confraternity in several times [166]. In 1548, he received his first commission for a big canvas from the Scuola of San Marcos [167]. This was the beginning of a series of four pictures depicting scenes of the saint ‘s life. Two years later, he married to the daughter of the major custodian at the same confraternity [168] (a Venetian nobleman), having two sons and some daughters [169].
Figure 14. Up: Pietro Aretino in the current canvas and in The Wedding, dressed in red before the restoration of 1992. Down: Pietro Aretino by Titian, 1545. Pitti Palace.
The work on the patron of the church was resumed in 1562 (the same year when the Veronese started with the Wedding), and continued to 1566 with three more pictures [170] which earned him the definite public acknowledgment even from Aretino, who, as his former master Titian, had been previously in the side of his critics.
In his letters to the painter dated from 1545, he already reproached him the excessive speed of his performance and his procedure (progression) to a final design before a previous settling [171].
However, in 1548, the bewilderment after San Marco ‘s first commission was evident and tangible. Aretino had to admit a magnificent and well-determined idea in conjunction with an “erratic” performance in light of what could be seen as the “manifest of a new painting” [172].
To his daring and characteristic colouring, Tintoretto added the vertical saint ‘s foreshortening upside down on the centre of the scene ― Figure 13 ―, thus conciving a dynamic and impossible moment and nearly “frozen” in time.
It has been suggested that Aretino represents the members of “La Calza” [173], a professional company responsible for entertainment in feasts and banquets [174]. His position in The Wedding becomes really interesting, since he is the most prominent figure of the canvas, symmetrical to that of Benedetto, the author ‘s brother: they both along with the musical consort occupy the whole central space between the tables of the banquet. In this sense, his role could be read as the master of ceremonies. Aretino kept artistic, professional, and epistolary relationships with many of the characters in the canvas [175].
Figure 15. Marietta Robusti. Self-portrait, 1580-85, Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
The great amount of canvas depicted by Tintoretto for the Scuola di San Rocco begun a couple of years before the commission The Wedding from the Veronese. They were concentrated between 1565 and 1567, and then from 1575 to 1588 [176], with a total number of more than 50 works, most of them accomplished by his characteristic prestezza, with an incomplete finishing, which he used to combine and balance the deficient inner light of the building.
His new avant-garde style was undoubtedly accepted and truly valued in the city, the same way as Giorgione ‘s in the past. He began to work in San Rocco the same year than he did for the Ducal Palace painting several pictures and portraits, many of which were lost during the later fire of 1577. After the incident, he resumed working in collaboration with the Veronese, painting more than a dozen of big canvas for his rooms during the following ten years, including his masterpiece, The Paradise.
As was usual among many painters of that time, especially those who were Venetian, Tintoretto was with all likelihood also musician. However, regarding his musical ability, same as Giorgione, we only have the reference of two coevals, and later also that of Ridolfi. Respecting how he amused himself, his friend Andrea Calmo wrote in 1549 “he played, laughed, and singed, without getting to the point of damaging his brain” [177]. Vasari also stated that he particularly enjoyed playing music with different instruments [178]. According to Ridolfi, Tintoretto played lute in his youth, in addition to other “bizarre” instruments of his own invention [179]. Moreover, it seems that the first work attracting the attention of the Venetian audience was a nocturno, a double portrait along with his brother playing the lute, a lost picture nowadays [180].
Weddigen suggests contacts with renown musicians who settled themselves at Venice, all of them engaged as composers, organists and/or chapel masters, to the big Scuolas and specially to those of S. Marcos and S. Rocco [181]. It is very likely that many of them knew each other and met in the intense artistic activity of the city, either public or private.
Nevertheless, there is no direct proof of these encounters [182], except for the organist of San Giorgio Maggiore, Giulio Zacchino, who occupied this position since 1572, and was in charge for the musical training of Tintoretto ‘s oldest daughter Marietta, a natural one and his favourite [183]. Apart from an accomplished painter and portraitist like her father, Marietta was also a musician. [184].
Figure 16. Four self-portraits of Tintoretto. A: In 1548: 39 years old. B: In 1563: 44 years old, portrayed by the Veronese in The Wedding of Cana. C: In 1573: 54 years old, D: In 1588: 69 years old. E: After 1588: 71 years old.
Figure 17. Andrea Schiavonne ‘s engraving, by Carlo Lasinio, compared to his portrait in The Wedding. He was born on the year of Giorgione ‘s death and died a few weeks after the Veronese ‘s completion of the canvas.
Tintoretto trained her personally in his own workshop, bringing her to all places when she was young and dressing her like a boy. During her days, she was acknowledged as a role model of feminine sensitivity, and did not received public commissions. However, she specialised herself as a portraitist for private audiences: two emperors claimed her services as a chamber painter ― Maximmilian II [185] and Philipp II ―, offers she rejected in order to preserve the close relationship with her father.
Still, the most explicit representation of Tintoretto as musician would perhaps be the one devoted to him by his partner and competitor Paolo Caliari, immortalising him in the core of a Venetian painter-musicians consort.
We have already showed, in our previous work [186], how Zanetti the Younger ‘s proposal on his identity in The Wedding ― just behind the author ― was a misguided assumption, since the musician behind Paolo Caliari is with all likelihood Diego Ortiz.
We believe instead to have showed that the original Zanetti the Old ‘s proposal [187], which attributed his identity to the violinist, was the correct one, therefore coming from a “legend” based on the current context of the canvas during its completion.
His facial features, in comparison with the self-portrait showed in Plate III.B ― C in Figure 16, and still exposed at the Sala Grande of Scuola de San Rocco nowadays ― seems more coherent with the character depicted on the canvas, while until today, only the other two known self-portraits ― one from his youth, at 39 years old, and another one in his eldest, around 70 years old: D in Figure 16 [188] ― had been taken into account.
The cross showed on his chest has been associated with the banner of the Gonzaga ‘s emblem [189], who favoured the first relevant commission for the Veronese in Venice in 1553, to decorate three rooms of the Council of Ten under Danielle Barbaro ‘s management [190].
Andrea Schiavone, Tintoretto ‘s colleague and friend from his youth, is also depicted in The Wedding, just behind the Veronese ‘s self-portrait: the first director of the Musée central de la  République in Paris (later Louvre Museum) proposed that he was the infant who is leaning out behind his head [191].
He identified him after his portrait (engraving: Figure 17) which Vasari included in the second edition of The Lives [192]. Besides, Vasari commissioned Schiavone previously some important works.
The reasons for his also later inclusion in the canvas, probably shortly before the arrival of Ortiz [193], are nevertheless different from those we are dealing with at this moment, as well as those affecting the final inclusion of the Neapolitan musician [194].
Between 1592 and 1594, Tintoretto finished painting his three last assignments requested by the Benedictine Order of San Giorgio Maggiore [195].
He died of plague in 1594, and was buried beside his daughter Marietta at the church of Saint Maria dell’ Orto, a funeral chapel which they shared with that of the celebrated Gasparo Contarini ‘s family [196].
Jacopo, who never travelled, lived since the 1540s at the vicinity of this church and went there regularly. He kept a close friendship with its friars: the library contained many valuable works, which were donations from the Contarini family. As their patrons, the Contarini promoted both Tintoretto and the familiar chapel [197].
Figure 18. Secret transfer of Saint Marcos ‘s body from Alexandria to Venice in 828. Jacopo Robusti, 1562-66. Venice, Gallery of Accademy, Cat. 813.
Gasparo ‘s bust for his funeral chapel was carved by in 1563 Alessandro Vittoria, and Tintoretto painted his canvas Secret translation of the body of Saint Marcos ― Figure 18 ― commissioned by Tommaso Rangone, the successor of his already deceased father-in-law [198].
Along with Reginald Pole [199], Gasparo was one of the two most influential voices on the first half of the Cinquecento regarding religious matters, among those who showed themselves close to the Reform thesis ― and in the decade before his death, the second voice below the Roman pontiff in Italy. Both of them were partners and leaders of the so-called spirituali movement [200].
Gasparo was also a close friend of Alvise Priuli in their youth, and they both frequented the monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore in the years before 1540 [201]. Gasparo had died twenty years earlier in Bologna, he was perhaps poisoned as Bernardino Ochino suggests after his exile in 1542 [202].
His body was finally brought to the familiar chapel in Venice on December 17th, 1563 (a few weeks after The Wedding conclusion), by his illegitimate nephew Giulio [203], who had publicly followed the ideas spread by the forbidden book Il Beneficio di Cristo [204].
Figura 19. The Last Supper, by Tintoretto, for the monastery of San Giorgio Magiore, 1592-94. Basilica of San Giorgio, Venice.
The Contarini family, which was one of the most relevant Venetian families, were protectors for Giorgione, same as the Grimani, in addition to the artists alluded here. When he died in 1510, Taddeo Contarini [205], one of the richest merchants of the city and the main patron for Giorgione, owned one of his two known (however now lost) nocturnals in his gallery.
It is believed that Tadeo was the commisioner for The Three Philosophers, furthermore, his commercial and religious concerns could explain the composition and the pictorial elements for this canvas [206].
The family was composed of many branches, having important relations with Byzantium, and particularly the capital, Constantinople.
The Venetian senator Giacomo Contarini [207], was a common friend of Palladio and Danielle Barbaro. He and Danielle shared both friends, his encyclopedic knowledge, and a strong concern related to scientific matters (the invention of a precision compass is attributed to him).
His private collection contained a big number of artworks ― including works by Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Bassano, and Paolo Caliari ―, artefacts, and scientific manuscripts.
The collection and his library constituted the centre of an academic circle focused on problems related to monumental architecture, naval construction and fortifications, for which he had to take care of quite frequently in his service to the Republic.
Among the artists frequenting his palace was also Tintoretto, and he kept links with the Veronese ‘s heirs ― his sons Carlo and Gabrielle and his brother Benedetto ― after his death. According to Ridolfi, he had self-portraits of both painters [208].
All the Venetian painters practiced some kind of “spiritual” religiousness, in a more or less radical sense [209], in line with the many pro-reformist inclinations circulating in Venice beyond the Council of Trent. Titian for example, had contact with nicodemite circles. Jacopo Bassano, our presumed cornettist in The Wedding, who was active mainly in the North, far away from Venice, kept also in touch with audiences and customers greatly close to the reformist thesis, and in many cases overtly protestant.
For Tintoretto, we have pointed to his long relationship with the Contarini family, with the friars of the Madonna dell’ Orto, and also those of the Scuola de San Rocco [210]. The Paradise was the greatest of his canvas and his masterpiece, and it is still the biggest canvas nowadays, with 22,6  meters wide and 9,1 meters height. The work was assigned to a wall at the Major Council Room in the Ducal Palace of Venice, where it was moved, from the temporary workshop intentionally installed at the Scuola della Misericordia, to be finished in situ with the assistance of his son Domenico.
The Veronese was in charge of the decoration of the ceiling. Jacopo earned the commission in 1588, however he had already delivered a small design (362 x 143 cm) ten years earlier, in 1578, currently displayed at the Prado Museum. During this interval of time until the final allocation, Jacopo repeated continuously to the senators he prayed every day until the time when he finally earned the commission. Then, The Paradise would be his own prize after his death.
The canvas contains more than 500 characters.
6. The Benedictines in charge of the commission
Girolamo Scroguerro ‘s accepted countenance in The Wedding [211], appears in Figure 20 (number 11). He was probably the person in charge of making the commission in 1562 [212]. Ten years before, from 1551 to 1554, Girolamo occupied the same position as abbot in the monastery. He went later to the Santa Justina de Padua congregation until 1559, being then re-elected again in San Giorgio that same year.
Girolamo ruled the destiny of the monastery till 1564, after the canvas completion, going then to the Abbey of Santa María of Praglia, likewise as abbot.
He was a very relevant person within the Order; he had been abbot at the Montecassino congregation, which was the political Benedictine headquarters, both in Italy and all around Europe. There, he was reelected twice almost consecutively, between 1541 and 1546 (Girolamo II, abbot 105, when he ordered the excavation of the crypt containing S. Benedict relic), and again between 1549 and 1551 (abbot 107) [213].
Figure 20. The alluded characters (except Danielle Barbaro, Pietro Aretino, and Andrea Schiavone), plus the two benedictine monks in charge of the monastery during the years of commission (7 and 11). The numbering shows the commensal ‘s position to the left of Jesus Christ.
Figure 20. The alluded characters (except Danielle Barbaro, Pietro Aretino, and Andrea Schiavone), plus the two benedictine monks in charge of the monastery during the years of commission (7 and 11). The numbering shows the commensal ‘s position to the left of Jesus Christ.
It is known that he took an active part in the two previous phases of the Council of Trent [214], which last and final announcement of the Council concluded just two months after the canvas completion. At this moment, Girolamo presided the Order at Montecassino for his fourth time [215].
His successor at San Giorgio Maggiore was Andrea da Asolo (Fig. 20, number 7), from 1564 to 1567, after The Wedding had been delivered. He had been the general procurator of the Order between 1537 and 1547. Later on, he was also the president after Scroguerro, in 1564 and 1567 [216]. He was accused by the Holy Office few years later the canvas conclusion, as he was already the abbot of the monastery.
His dismissal came along with the “cleansing” campaign by the Inquisition. This campaign led to the suppression of the cultural and “political” activities, which characterized the Benedictine Order already from the beginning of the century.
Figure 21. Girolamo de Piacenza (Scroguerro) and Andrea de Asolo (Pampuro) at Veronese ‘s canvas.
Figure 22a. The Wedding at Cana, by Tintoretto, 1561. Church of Sta. María de la Salud, Venice. Left: detail showing the monks.
Figure 22b. Detail of the monks of Sta. Maria de la Salud.
In the years following the canvas completion and the conclusion of the Council of Trent, the Order was practically “beheaded” as a consequence of the Inquisition trials. The Benedictines were suspected to sympathize with some of the Reform postulates. In particular, the scholar monks and other humanists who were closed to the Abbeys of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, San Benedetto Po in Mantua, Santa Giustina in Padua, as well as the Abbey of Montecassino.
Furthermore, Asolo was also indicted by the Holy Office for being a follower of Giorgio Siculo [217], despite his election as the Abbot of San Giorgio after the canvas completion and, later on, as the President of the Congregation at the Abbey of Montecassino, in 1567. Teofilo da Siena, who was a young Benedictine monk recently ordered in 1561, one year before the canvas commencement, had written a letter to Pius V [218]. There, he warned the Pope of the existence of heretic currents within the Order (such as the Pelagians, for which Siculo was a follower). This matter was treated with Carlos Borromeo [219], who was responsible for the inquisitorial enforcement.
The following inquiries revealed the identity of members of “la Setta dei Giorgiani” (sic.) in the monasteries of Mantova, Brescia, and Milan [220]. The intern inquest was in charge of the Abbot of Montecassino, Angelo de Faggis [221], and Asolo was finally arrested on the 30th of April 1568 and replaced as the president of the Order.
A total of 16 indicted, including several laymen, one woman and several Benedictines ― some of them with a relevant position inside the Order ― were processed and imprisoned, sent to galleys or executed. Asolo, who was identified as the head of the sect, admitted his negligence during the trial ― albeit not his sinfulness ― and was finally acquitted and destined to the congregation in Mantova [222].
Our two main conjectures in the present context are a) that the canvas contains a “Benedictine reply” to the politic and religious events which confronted a wide scope of the Italian ecclesiastic authorities (those who were close to the Reformation thesis) against the Roman Catholic prelates; b) that the presence of many of the personages depicted by Veronese is a reflection of this intention [223].
Two years earlier to the commission of The Wedding, Tintoretto also painted his own version of the miracle including his characteristic architecture, attending the request the church of Santa Mª de la Salud. With all likelihood, he also portrayed there the monks in charge of the commission, as his colleague would do later on at San Giorgio Maggiore ― Figure 22.

Figure 23. Dom Alessandro and Dom Maurizio, according to our original proposal.
To conclude, we would also like to suggest the possibility that the two characters in green who seem to be managing some relevant issues (note the presence of a pencil and written documents) in the upper level of the scene (to the left from the obsever: Figure 23), could be representing the two monks of San Giorgio Maggiore who appear in fact beside Paolo Caliari in the signature of the contract for The Wedding commission.
It means, dom Maurizio [224] and dom Alessandro [225], both from Bergamo. Unfortunately, very little it is known about dom Alessandro.
Related Dom Maurizio, it is known that he was ordered in 1544, progressing within the Order at the San Giorgio monastery until he was elected prior a year later after the canvas completion, when Andrea de Asolo was already abbot, in 1564 [226]. Dom Maurizio is the written name in the receipt of payment at the canvas delivery.
Appendix 1. Biographical data
1.A. Domenico Grimani [1] (Venice, 1461 – Rome, 1523)

The eldest son of five from Antonio Grimani [2], Dux of Venice in 1521-23, and Caterina di Domenico Loredan. Exquisitely educated, he went to the University of Padua until 1498. There, he studied philosophy and obtained a degree in canonical law, which was useful for an ecclesiastical career, in addition to a doctorate in artibus in 1487. He was among the senators who received the emperor Frederick III [3] in Rovereto in 1489, and accompanied him later to Verona, Vicenza, Bassano, Treviso, and Aquileia. At that moment, he had already begun his renowned art collection, including the famous breviary [4], which will carry his name from now on. Two years later, Inocencio VIII [5] appointed him apostolic secretary and protonary. Alexander VI [6], to whom his father gave 25.000 or 30.000 ducats, nominated him cardinal in September of 1493, and a month later he was at Viterbo with him, being one of those who received the pope when arrived to Rome in December. Domenico was by then “administrator” of the bishopric of Pafo. On July 12th 1494, Domenico attended the meeting between the pontiff and the king of Naples, Alfonso II [7], in Vicovaro.
Domenico conducted the defence for his own father, who was arrested and condemned to life sentence by the Venetian Senate due to his defeat against the Turks, between 1499 and 1500. Later, in October 1502, he hosted him when he escaped from the prison in Cherso, protecting him from that moment on from his position in Rome, until he secured the dismissal of charges and his restitution as procurator in San Marcos in 1510. Antonio would become dux in 1521, partly thanks to the great winnings of his previous commercial activity and died a few months before Domenico himself.
In 1508, he attended the canonical process to acknowledge the new Patriarch of Venice, Alvise Contarini [10]. He was ambassador of the republic, in conjunction with the Cardinal Marco Cornaro [11], while the conflicts that confronted the Papacy during the Cambrai League. He officiated the mass in the opening on the first session of the Council of Letran, on 10th May 1512.
He escorted again Alexander VI to Orvieto and back to Rome in May 1495. He obtained the Patriarchate of Constantinople in January 1497, leaving it to get that of Aquileia, which was assigned to him thats same year, in September. He was ordered priest on March of 1498 (a requirement to access the episcopate), and on 3rd May he left Rome to get to Ravenna with an entourage of 150 people, arriving to Venice being greeted with great honours two weeks later. He officiated the singing mass at the Sixtine Chapel on 12th December 1501,  in presence of the pope and Saboya ‘s ambassador, to whom publicly ordered to desist of his claims.
He became cardinal priest of San Marcos after the election of Giulio II as the new pontiff in 1503 [8], to whom he escorted when entering Perugia and Bologne in 1506. Erasmo [9], who lived in Venice from 1505, dedicated him his work Musica.
His authority was accepted at that moment, and his name was heard for the conclave as a possible successor to the Papacy in February, 1513. However, his candidature was impaired because of his rivalry with the Cornaro family, which would also affect Giovanni Grimani negatively in his future aspirations to become a member of the cardinalate.
He was also known for his independent judgment opposite to that of the pontiffs: despite the fact that the new pope, Leo X [12], had respected all his privileges, in 1516 Domenico refused to sign the bull in which the Pope intended to grant his nephew Lorenzo de Medici [13] the Dukedom of Urbino, and one year later, his vote was the only one in favour of three former cardinals accused of plotting against the pontiff.
He was one of the seven cardinals of the committee in charge to determine controversy among the Franciscan [14].
In early January 1517, he had resigned from the Patriarchate of Aquileia in favour of his nephew Marino ― a position that would be held by Giovanni Grimani later, until his formal accusation, which was then handed over to his own nephew Danielle Barbaro.
Already out of Rome and returned to Venice, at the end of 1518, he did not accept the renounce to the bishopric of Urbino for a second time, this time to favor Giulio de Medici (future pope Clemente VII) [15], a position that conversely he assigned to his nephew Giovanni Grimani on 18th March 1520. His father Antonio, by the time rehabilitated, was elected dux on 6th July 1521.
It was December 4 when, sick in Murano, he received the news of the death of Leo X, which had occurred three days before, and decided to leave on the 5th to Pesaro after embarking, carried by four servants. He arrived in Rome from Urbino in a litter drawn by mules on 15th December, to be present in the new synod for which his own prestige could allow him to reach the papacy. He did not leave his lodge until the 25th, in a litter, to be carried by Cardinal Bernardino Carvajal [16] to a sort of meeting of anti-Medicean cardinals.
Two days later, on the 27th, he appeared at the conclave, but on the 30th he was too ill and on the 31st he had to leave it because he was “in danger of death” as reported by Baltasar de Castiglione [17] to Federico Gonzaga [18].
Even when Venetian popes had existed, being the son of a living doge certainly did not help him in his aspirations to the Papacy, which was eventually achieved by Adrian VI [19].
He remained at Rome for a few months in 1522, as member of the regency committee of three cardinals monthly renewable, waiting for the arrival of the new pontiff (an event which would not happen until 29th August). However, he left the city during the first days of April, embarking later at Pesaro on a ship belonging to the duke of Urbino, and arrived to his home in Murano the 19th of that month.
He returned to Rome a year later, on 7th February, and was welcomed by Adrian VI, who appraised his renowned philosophic and theological culture. His signature appears on the bull of 27th March that restored Urbino ‘s Duchy to Francesco Maria I Della Rovere [20], its legitimate owner, after the conflict with Leo X some years ago.
On 20th April, he attended the solemn greeting ceremony of the pontiff at the Venetian embassy in Rome. Five days later and as a patron, he officiated an exquisite banquet offered to the diplomatic corps on the occasion of Saint Mark ‘s Day. This, would be remembered as “the second most beautiful” of its time (only surpassed by that of the Chancellery), in the surroundings of a Roman palace with a multitude of rooms and gardens, and musical performances that lasted for 6 hours.
Domenico was one of the wealthiest patricians in his times. His colleague, Ambassador Alvise Gradenigo [21], reported on 25th May, after returning to Venice, that Domenico had an annual income of 14.000 ducats, and that “many people would make him Pope” [22].
His art collection was donated to the Venetian state, being completed by his nephew Giovanni later, and was the primal core for the actual National Archaeological Museum of Venice. The number and iconography of these works have been settled after an inventory of 1587 by Alessandro Vittoria and Domenico dalle Due Regine. It was commissioned by the managers of the works at Palazzo where the collection was destined [23].
He died on 26th August 1523.
1.B. Marcantonio Grimani [1] (Venice, 1486 – Venice, 1566)
Second son of Francesco di Pietro, named Scipione, with Lucrezia Diedo di Andrea. Two of his three brothers ― Vicenzo, Piero ― were procurators of San Marcos, and Piero was the Venetian ambassador before Charles V in 1530. Andrea was the third one. He married Giulia Tron di Piero in 1510, having two sons: Alvise (1511-71) and Ottaviano (1516-76).
His political career lasted from 1523 until his death, holding subsequently relevant positions for the Republic, until he became part of the Council of Ten in 1550. He was candidate to dux in 1553, and was honoured with the coinage of an honorary medal in which he appeared bald and with a short beard, with his name and position as Senatori Principali.
During the next years to 1565 when he was elected procurator of San Marcos, he continued to be a member of various and authoritative magistracies as superintendent over Monasteries (1554), wise man of the Council (1555-58), ducal counsellor (1556-59 and 1562-64) and one of the three conservatives and executors in charge of reviewing laws already enacted (1557-59).
He died serenely on 25th February 1566,  in his palace of the Saints Ubaldo and Agata (vulgo S. Boldo). His testamentary wills included, in addition to measurements for the preservation of his large legacy, indications for the decoration of his own funeral chapel, located inside the family one which he himself had already required in 1542 to the friars of the church in San Sebastiano.
He obtained a special exemption from the apostolic nuncio at Venice allowing him to be buried under the main altar, following his own will for not to be buried along with his relatives. He endowed the chapel with pictures and artistic objects, which were representative of his family, for a total amount of 700 golden ducats.
In 1564, a year after The Wedding completion, Alessandro Vittoria delivered two statues to the chapel, Saint Marc and Saint Anthony. Marcantonio had already commissioned him his own portrait on a marble bust, which he ordered in his testament for a copy being made after his death in order to be placed at his home.
Paolo Caliari also portrayed him in a honourably way, intended to the room of the Major Consiglio at the Ducal Palace, a picture which was lost later during the big fire of 1577.
C. Andrea Meldolla, named “Schiavone” [1] (Zara, 1510 – Venice, 1563)
He was probably born in Zara (Dalmatia), where his father Simone had settled from Meldolla to occupy the position of contestable for the Serenissima. His brother, who was also painter, was born in the same place.
There is no certainty about his training period, however, it has been suggested that he could have begun with Bonifacio Veronese [2], and that later he could have worked in the Lorenzo Luzzo workshop [3], who was both active in Dalmatia and Venice. Nevertheless, the more convincing proposal points to Francesco Mazzola [4], to whom a strong influence in Andrea ‘s work is avowed [5]. He collaborated with Antonio da Trento [6] in a series of 14 etching engravings prior to 1540. This year, Vasari commissioned him his first known picture (currently lost): a tribute to Ottaviano de’ Medici [7], depicting the recent battle that confronted Charles V to Barbarroja [8].
There is no certain evidence of any of Andrea ‘s works until the next decade. Four tables (perhaps being part of a cabinet: two of them depicting Apollo and other two for Jupiter) in the Vienna Kunst­historisches Museum and a few mythological engravings, are attributed to him during this period.
Three canvas are also attributed to him between 1542 and 1547 [9], however, there is no certainty until just this last year of the only dated and autograph Andrea ‘s work ― “Andrea Meldolla inventor”―, a big etching depicting The Abduction of Helen [10].
He decorated the facade of the Palazzo Zen de Crociferi in Venice with grotteschi, frescoes which are currently lost and which were painted in collaboration with Tintoretto.
He received from Aretino the same critiques than his friend and colleague Robusti because of the same reasons, the excessive prestezza: Paolo Pino joined, with even more bitterness, the critics when describing Schiavone ‘s technique as “to smear” (empiastrar) [11].
Figure 24. Andrea Schiavone meets Alessandro Vittoria. Gemme d’ art italiane, Anno VI, 1853, 0129.
Between 1552 and 1553, Andrea painted eleven pictures on wood, devoted to the choir gallery in the church of Carmini [12]: only three of them survived, being the remaining eight in unknown location.
This cycle was completed with the collaboration of Camillo da Urbino [13], who denounced him blaming his own arbitrary dismissal and claiming half of the commission amount as compensation. Shortly after this, he made four monchromatic frescoes for one chapel of the church of San Sebastiano [14], whose ownership was Marcantonio Grimani, since 1544.
Undoubtedly, he collaborated there with Alessandro Vittoria, who was in charge of the stucco for the cornices, one bust of Marcantonio, and two statues, one of San Marco and another one of San Antonio [15].
In the early 1577, he completed three of the twenty-one “rounds” (tondi) [16] which cover the ceiling room of the Marciana Library ― whose building begun 20 years earlier by Sansovino, the official architect of the city, whereas the pictorial works were conducted by Tiziano Vecellio.
Among the artists who collaborated in these works were Battista Franco, who took over the grotteschi upon a golden background [17], as well as Titian himself, Paolo Caliari, Tintoretto, and Alessandro Vittoria.
The reputation obtained with this enterprise led him to a commission for the Pellegrini chapel in the church of San Sebastiano, by its recent appointed patron Vincenzo Pellegrini, including his Christ with two disciples on the road to Emmaus along with two small monochrome ovals.
In 1560, he worked at the Marciana Library once again, completing the series of Philosophers that decorate the walls of the main room.
Some small pictures focused on mythological issues are preserved [18] ― this was his own field of expertise facing the existing big demand for this kind of works among the private collecting ― as well as others of sacred ambience [19].
He received his last Venetian commission ― The Miracle of San Marcos ― from the Scuola di San Marco few months after the Veronese canvas’ The Wedding begun, on June 28th 1562. It was commissioned by the responsible, Tomasso Rangone [20], although it seems that the picture was never done, since shortly after this, the Scuola commissioned another canvas with the same topic to Domenico Tintoretto [21].
His name is shown as a witness ― along with Titian, Tintoretto, il Veronese, and a certain Jacopo Pisbolico de Pistoia [22] ― in a dispute involving the procurators of San Marcos and some members of the Zuccato family, who were renowned by their mosaics, on May 9th 1563. He wrote his last wills two weeks later, on 22th May, leaving all his possessions to his wife, Marina de Ricis [23], which leads to believe they had no offspring. He died on December 1st on the same year, a few weeks later the completion of The Wedding by the Veronese.
He was acknowledged as the best engraver of his time, although unfortunately just a few works are preserved, perhaps because, according to Vasari, his activity was mainly devoted to the private audience. The painter Battista del Moro [24] possessed a book with engraved designs which were mostly his works. After Andrea ‘s death, Tintoretto stated that no artist could ignore him from that moment on [25]. Unlike many of his colleagues, he died in poverty, while others dealt with his works during his life: he was buried thanks to the charity of a few friends [26]. His friend Alessandro Vittoria was present among the witnesses in the reading of his testament [27].
D. Girolamo Grimani [1] (Venice, 1496 – Venice, 1570)

According to a Romantic author, he was the main responsible of the commision for The Wedding in 1562 (see Paragraph 3), after a previous small copy which he possesed in his gallery, and which the San Giorgio ‘s abbot would have wished for his congregation.
Fourth son of Marino di Piero, known as Scipione, and Andriana Cappello di Bernardo. He begun his political career in 1515, being elected for the Cinque savi agli Ordini, a position with competences over the whole Venetian maritime navy, both civil and military.
In 1516, he was a civil servant officer in the Chamber of Imprestidi and got married to Donata Pisani di Ermolao (Almorò) in 1519. They had three daughters (Maria, Agnesina, Andriana) and two sons ― Marino, born in 1532, who later became dux from 1595 to 1605, and Ermolao, born in 1532, knight and procurator of San Marco.
He served as “Sage of the Mainland” almost uninterruptedly since 1531 until his death, 7 years after the commission of The Wedding, alternating the position successively with other important ones to the politics of the Serenissima. In 1542, he became part of the group of five nobles super Napolitatios responsible to attend to refugees from territories lost in previous military campaigns. In 1543, he entered the Collegio of twenty-five nobles on the fortifications, a task affecting the whole defensive apparatus of the Republic.
Since 1544, he was part of the Venetian Senate sages, or “Great Sages”, one of the three expert groups constituting the Collegio. He was appointed captain in Verona in 1549, acquiring military powers. Back in Venice, at the end of 1551, he was appointed member of the board for the Council of Ten, composed of fifteen members. Two years later, he was one of the Three Conservatives and executors of the laws, who were magistrates with supervisory functions over what was already legislated, a position that he resumed in 1559-60.
He was one of the ambassadors for the coronation of the new pope Marcellus II in 1555 [2], and then again for Paul IV [3], after Marcellus’ sudden death only twenty-one days later. In 1556, he was elected Superintendent of Health for the management of the plague, a position to which two other supervisors were added with the power to issue death sentences. In 1559, he was one of the five nobles in charge of dux Lorenzo Priuli ‘s [4] succession by Girolamo Priuli [5], and in the next year, he was again ambassador before the new pope Pius V [6], this time probably accompanied by Paolo Caliari, il Veronese. Girolamo obtained the lifelong position as procurator of San Marcos in April 1560. He returned to Rome as ambassador in 1566, both for the election of Pius V as for the solving of jurisdiction issues between Venice and the Roman curia. He was among the 41 electors for the dux Pietro Loredan [7] in 1567.
In his testament, written two years before his death, he named his wife as first heiress, followed by his sons as second ones. To his granddaughters, he granted endowments worth of 1000 golden ducats for those who would become nuns and of 5000 for those who would get married.
E. Giovanni VI Grimani [1] (Venice, 1506 – Venice, 1593)
Son of Girolamo di Antonio (ca 1460 - 1515) and Elena de Francesco Priuli. He had three brothers and at least three sisters ― Marino, Marco, Vittore, Lucía, Paola, and Lucrezia. From his birth, he was meant to the ecclesiastical career, and on March 28th 1520, he assumed the position of his uncle, the Cardinal Domenico, as “administrator” for the bishopric of Ceneda until December 18th 1530, when he handed it over to his brother, the Cardinal Marino. After his uncle ‘s death in 1523, he gained the benefit for the abbey of S. Maria di Sesto al Reghena. He was again bishop of Ceneda with full rights from February 20th 1540 to January 23rd 1545. Because he was nephew and brother to Patriarchs of Aquileia, it seemed that he was destined to be the governor of the Patriarchate after the death of his brother Marino, which happened in September 28th 1546. However, a series of continual accusations and political movements prevented him from acquiring the position that was his legal right until many years later at an old age, and he could never obtain his cardinal degree but secretly (in pectore).
Eight months earlier, on January 28th 1546, the bishop of Milopotamo and Chirone ― Dionisio Zanettini [2], named Grechetto ―, had denounced him to the pope Paul III [3] accusing him of supporting the authority of the Council over the Pope during a conversation with him at Venice, in his presence and the archbishop ‘s of Corfu.
On April 26th1547, he denounced him again before the pontiff, this time with a detailed accusation of crypto-lutheranism.
Giovanni had supported people who were involved in other inquisitorial trials: the Agustinians Giulio Della Rovere [4] and Agostino da Treviso [5] (when he preached at Venice), and also Bernardino Ochino, being friends with Giacomo Nacchianti [6] and Pier Paolo Vergerio, in addition to Pietro Carnesecchi [7], to whom he had a close relationship in 1542 while Carnesecchi resided in the city.
The denunciation also included his secretary, the physician Gian Battista Susio [8], to whom he rated as “furious, fool” and of a “bad nature”.
In a letter of July 25th 1550, ordered by Giulio III [9], Giovanni was asked to send him to Rome to deny these charges, because it was not convenient to have a suspect “heretic” as secretary. Giovanni satisfied the requirement immediately, and Gian Battista was finally left “clean” before the Roman inquisitors.
Giovanni ‘s aspirations to cardinal position, an essential condition to access the Papacy, turned out as a public compromise and an official requirement from the Venetian government from January 27th 1554, with a long series of ups and downs which lasted several decades.
The rank of cardinal was officially requested on February 12th 1555, by the Venetian ambassador Domenico Morosini [10]. For his astonishment, Giulio III exposed slight objections adducing that the exculpation of his previous “problems” were meant to prevent his degradation ― he preserved his condition of Patriarch of Aquileia ―, but not help in his promotion in the ecclesiastical hierarchy.
Once again, in February 21st 1561, Giovanni accompanied the Venetian ambassador Marcantonio Da Mula [11] to meet the new pontiff, Pius IV, to whom both reiterated the petition. The pope showed his approbation, however he affirmed that he could not interfere with the task of the Inquisition.
The “convenient” apparition of a letter personally written by Giovani on April 17th 1549 placed him again in the spotlight of suspicion a few days before the appointment of the new cardinals. Paragraphs of the letter were read to the ambassador by the Cardinal Antonio Ghislieri, future Pius V, who was called there with this purpose: Giovanni had protected Leonardo Locatelli [12] during his preaching at the Udine collegiate in 1549, after being accused before the patriarcal vicary and his sermons were interrupted.
The letter confirmed the old suspicions about the participation of Ottaviano Roventa [13], bishop of Terracina, at Trent in the beginnings of 1547: his intervention on the justification per sola fide ― the Lutheran and reformist interpretation ― could have been inspired on Giovanni ‘s own ideas, from who Roventa was just the spokesman, as Grechetto had denounced some previous years. When Giovanni knew that the text had been read to the ambassador Da Mula, he achieved a hearing with the pope for the next day, February 22nd, where he burst into tears and self-proclaimed a victim of some cardinals’ hatred, Ghislieri himself among them.
Pius IV promised him not to spread the letter, however, he declared that, before getting to him, it had already arrived to other hands and that he could not stop the inquisitorial mechanism: the new claim was that he had been previously exonerated because these autograph new documents, and others addressed to him, were unknown at that time.
The letter was then inspected word-to-word in Girolamo Seripando ‘s house (future president of the Council of Trent in the last announcement) [14], and Giovanni himself was alike examined by an inquisitorial committee on the 25th. Next day, eighteen new cardinals were designated ― among them two Venetians: Bernardo Navagero [15] and the ambassador Da Mula himself ― however, his name was not in the listing.
It was only on August 19th that the palace master gave him an amount of three pages “with things extracted from his letter”. He again justified them in writing, delivering a text with a total length of 8 pages five hours later. Tired and irritated, he chose to come back to Venice, with the aim that his cause would be reviewed at Trent, where the Council was being conducted. Unfortunately, he left Rome by the end of September without Pio IV ‘s approval, which aggravated and intensified his cause. The State Secretary, Cardinal Carlos Borromeo [16], considered his visit to the city of the Council unnecessary, which aim was “to disturb” and “to confound” with his personal misfortunes. He was summoned on April 11th 1562, through the papal nunzio in Venice, to turn up before the Roman Holy Office to justify himself in person once more. At this point, the Serenissima took part in the conflict again, urging him to go to Trent, where his court case would be reviewed by a special commission, which was established at the house of Cardinal Giovanni Morone [17] on July 19th 1563. No heretical imputation was found in his letter from 1549.
And consequently, the previous judgment [18] was ratified as acquitted. He trusted Pius V ‘s promises and the support of the Republic and other cardinals to make his nomination as cardinal in pectore a public announcement (April 26th 1561). Nevertheless, his name was not among the 23 new cardinals who were nominated two years later, on March 12th 1565. Among them, two Venetians once more [19]. He neither received the canopy, which corresponded to him as metropolitan dignity [20]. After Pius IV death, on December 9th, he went to Rome to participate in the conclave attending his pending designation. However, he never arrived there because his declared enemy Ghislieri reached to Papacy as Pius V, on February 7th 1566: a few months later, on June 6th, the papal nunzio at Venice asked him again for an appearance at the Roman court, making a clear omission of the acquittal he had obtained at Trent. So, he waited for the death of Pius V, on May 5th 1572, to come back to his concern. The Venetian ambassadors reasserted their requests to the new pontiff, Gregory XIII [21], who expressed outright his negative to make him cardinal, in return for promoting other Venetian prelates and to stop carrying on Giovanni ‘s appointment. After this new denial, he retreated to the palace of Santa María Formosa, with all his collections: there, he welcomed Henry III of Valois [22] in a magnificent way, on July 22nd 1574.
He was sent to Rome in 1580 to attend the territorial conflicts between the Republic and the Papacy, which was latent from 1576 [23]. In fact, he was kidnaped by the pope in there, who published his own law on competences three years later, after using Giovanni, in repeated occasions, as a pawn for his own interests. On July 16th 1583, he wrote to the Council of Ten acknowledging this situation as concequence of his own fault, and declaring himself as a humble and obedient son of the Serenissima.
He could not return to Venice until Gregory XIII was dead, on April 10th 1585. On February 3rd 1587, he could finally devote his time to his own antiquities until his death on October 3rd 1593, due do natural causes.
He looked after the decoration of the family chapel in the church of S. Francesco della Vigna, as well as the reform of the Grimani palace at S. Maria Formosa, turning it into one of the first European public art museums thanks to the donation of his formidable collection of “classical pieces” to the Venetian State, following his uncle Domenico ‘s example. During the two preceding decades after the commission of the Veronese ‘s Wedding [24], the palace became one of the most artistic workshops in Venice, in tune with the mannerist current of the city.
After he had recovered the family “antiquities” for his Venetian palace, he never stop to increase his collection. He began by rescuing his brother Marino ‘s goods, which were acquired by Giulio III under the terms of accumulated debts, in exchange of 3000 golden ducats. From that moment on, he invested great amounts of money both personally and through agents who were assigned to the most relevant archaeological markets surrounding Venice: Rome, Aquileia, Dalmatia, Constantinopla, Creta, Ática and the Peloponese. He was specially interested in statues, statuettes, busts and heads of divinities and allegorical figures, as well as emperors and patrician portraits. His collection included many reliefs, inscriptions, vases, chandelier basements and funerary urns (material which was mainly purchased in Rome), and a big number of cameos, gems, coins and medals, the majority of them from Domenico and Marino Grimani ‘s collections. On February 7th 1587, he offered near 200 of these pieces to the Republic with the condition of exposing them in a public and adecuate place along with those granted by his uncle, which were located at the Sala delle Teste and he himself had ordered to restore. They were finally assigned to the antechamber of Marciana Library by the Collegio in 1590. The new public statuary was completed by the procurator Federico Contarini [25] in 1596, under the supervision of Vincenzo Scamozzi [26], nearly three years after his death. His collection probably constituted the original core of the current National Archaeological Museum of Venice.

Tomasso Contarini (Venice, 1488 – Venice, 1578) [1]
He was Gasparo Contarini ‘s younger brother and older of other nine siblings ― five males and four females ― he was in charge of the family affairs after their father ‘s premature death in 1502, while his older brother, Gasparo, continued with his studies in Padua, which would lead him into the relevant diplomatic career he would develop until his death in 1542. The Contari family, despite not being one of the most wealthy ones, managed a wide inheritance, including a palace in Madonna dell’ Orto – Palazzo Contarini del Zaffo ― and its lush gardens, which were one of the main places where the Venetian humanist of that time would gather [2].
During the second decade of that century, it seems that he had resided in Alexandria while taking care of family businesses, spice trafficking among them. In 1515, he decided to become a supplier in the city, but he was unable to get the position. Nothing else was known about him until his brother Gasparo was elected Venetian orator before Charles V in 1521, moment when he was integrated into his suite, presumably as domestic economy administrator.
Dedicating his life to foreign policy was not of his interest during those critical years: there are four letters from that period – from Audenarde in 1521, Brussels next year, Valladolid in 1523 and finally, Burgos in 1524 ― but only the first one was comprised of military content. The other three letters dealt with his courtesan life, a new environment for him, and his admiration for the emperor.
In 1525, he had to move to Cartagena in a haste, where the Inquisition had arrested the person in charge of a galley whose cargo (or the ship itself) were property of the family, on the pretext that they were selling illegal books.
In 1526 he was admitted in the Venetian senate by the payment of 500 ducats. Whereupon, his name appeared in many banquets: with the duke, in 1526; and with the recently appointed cardinal, Marino Grimani, in 1532; and later on, as the person in charge of welcoming the Duke of Milan in 1530, and Duke Urbino in 1532. The previous year, the Council of Ten elected him as supervisor for the Marigold.
In November 1534, he obtained a really well-respected and prestigious position in the embassy before emperor Charles V, however, in October next year, and before starting his journey to Spain, he was disclaimed from his service to the Republic due to the conflict between his new position and his brother Gasparo ‘s appointment as cardinal, forcing him into resuming his Venetian political career.
In 1539, he was elected wise man of Mercatura, and then, in 1540, called to the Commons Advocate, position which he quickly quitted because of his new assigment as supervisor in Verona, a city involved in revolts and starvation, where he was the mayor until April 1542.
There, he revoked all licenses emitted before his arrival, he forbade the use of weaponry, reconstructed the government palace, and relocated the prostitutes to a certain neighbourhood according to the moral regeneration policies in Venice and also countless Italian cities at that moment, following the bishop Matteo Giberti reformer ‘s will.
During the previous years, he had contacts with some of the highest exponents in the current of the spirituali, such as Gregorio Cortese and Cardinal Reginald Pole, whom he visited in two occasions ― in Rovelone (1536) and then Verona (1537) ― and he kept correspondence with Gianpietro Carafa during this decade. In June 1536 he took ownership of the bishopric in Belluno on behalf of his brother Gasparo, for whom he made a detailed assessment on the religious situation in the diocese.
After finishing his stage in Verone in 1542, he visited the cardinal in Bolonia during three weeks, between the 22nd May and the 12th June, where he interacted with numerous friendships, a broader group of Venetian people close to the most influential circle of the spirituali, such as Giovanni Morone, Sebastiano Contarini, Girolamo Negri [3] or Galeazzo Florimonte [4], with whom he visited again Cortese, this time in the Bendictine abbey in Saint Benedetto Po.
It is hard to discern in what measure he kept these contacts either as usual manager of the family ‘s economic affairs or as personal representative of his own brother, whose death abruptly came shortly after, on the 24th August.
In 1543, he was member of the Thirty Assessors and the next year, Wise man of Terraferma for the Collegio, the highest organ in the government for the Republic, and then, in 1545, he was considered as one of the five “Super Napolitans”. After a brief detachment from politics, he became the dux counsellor between 1549 and 1550, apart from supervisor for the fortifications, assisting Duke of Urbino among others.
At the end of that year, he was sent to Mantua as deputy embassador to honour Emperor Maximiliano de Habsburgo.
In the early 1550s, he was one of the three supervisors for the construction of the bridge in Rialto, and next year, he came back to his usual position in the Collegio, where he was renewed in numerous occasions in the years 1552, 1553 ― dux counsellor in 1554 once again ― 1555, 1557, 1560, 1561, 1563, 1566, 1570 and 1571.
In addition to be a member of the Council of Ten from 1551 to 1554, he also assumed multiple positions: (still) supervisor for the fortifications in 1553, supervisor for the Arsenal in 1553 and 1556, and finally, curator and executor of the laws in San Marcos and Rialto in 1553, 1559 and 1560.
He was a prestigious senator and orator and he participated in the election for dux in several occasions between 1553 and 1559. Besides, he was law checker in the ducal palace. He obtained his certificate as solicitor in San Marcos in March 1557, which was soon after he had been sent as supervisor in Terraferma, facing the French army ‘s threat during the anti-Spanish campaign lead by Pablo IV.
A year later, he was appointed general captain of the Sea in charge of a fleet of 90 galleys in order to face the threat that the Turkish represented. In the end, the fleet was sent to the Kingdom of Naples, and taking advance of his position, he enrolled the Croatian pirates to strengthen the safety of the Republic.
Since Octorber 1558 he remained directly connected to the ducal context and to the Council of Ten until his death: he was supervisor in Montes in 1559, 1560, 1569, 1570 and 1575; inquisitor against the dissemination of secrets in 1562 and 1569; procurator for the custody of the city in 1569; supervisor for the peace in the city in 1570, position he declined due to old age; he was sent to Udine to review the fortification in 1566; and procurator in charge of holding Enrique III ‘s canopy in his visit to Venice in 1574.
In a political sense, he always supported the most conservative and old faction (“vecchia”) of the Republic, and his candidacy to become dux in 1567 was considered as a grievance with regard to the younger currents, particularly in the Major Council. He died on the 15th December 1578.
During the times of the canvas completion, Tomasso was the one responsible of the familiar chapel in the Church in Madonna dell’ Orto, consecrated to the memory of his brother Gasparo and decorated by Tintoretto [5], which was the same destination for the artist and his own family.
G. Giulio Contarini [1] (Venice, 1519 – Belluno, 1575)
Natural son of Federico de Alvise, one of the Cardinal Gasparo Contarini ‘s brothers, from the Madonna dell’ Orto branch, he was probably born in Venice but did not enjoy legal status as native.
On the death of the father in Rome in 1535, where he was with his uncle Gasparo, recently appointed cardinal, his family tried to obtain some ecclesiastical benefit for Giulio by Paul III. His uncle, and Cardinals Pietro Bembo [2] and Reginald Pole, also interceded on his behalf, being finally granted the bishopric of Belluno on September 11th 1542, succeeding his uncle Gasparo, after his recent death.
During that year, he met some cardinals of the so-called spirituali in Bologna ― of whom his own uncle and Reginald Pole were the highest exponents ―, Giovanni Morone and Galeazzo Florimonte [3] among them, and had contacts with Gregorio Cortese [4] and Ercole Gonzaga [5].
He was present at the first announcement of the Council of Trent, where he briefly intervened in the 5th session, on June 17th.
He voted in the general congregation of July 10th about the problem of “Justification”, and he defended in the synod (still on the 19th), similar positions as his own against accusations of heresy, although he was already in Padua with Pole in the month of September.
He returned to Trent in the fleeting new meeting of the Council, from March to April 1552. Then again in early November 1562, for the third and last announcement, giving in to the official requirements of the Venetian government and the insistence of Archbishop Ludivoco Beccadelli [6], who had been Secretary of his uncle Gasparo, of Reginald Pole and even of the Council itself in 1545.
Giulio was at that time in charge of the crypt which his family shared with Tintoretto ‘s, who portrayed him in a bust in 1575. Giulio, procurator of San Marcos, had commissioned Tintoretto the decoration of the organ at Santa Maria del Giglio in 1552 [7].
As already mentioned, he publicly adhered to the principles of the accursed book The Benefit of Christ.
H. Girolamo Contarini [1] (Venice, 1521 – Venice, 1577)
He became a prestigious military man at the service of the Serenissima, and was portrayed by Veronese twice. Son of the magistrate and lawyer Marcantonio di Andrea and Lucrezia di Pietro Contarini, he became orphan after his father ‘s death when he was 7 years old: it is necessary to distinguish him from four other contemporary homonyms, sons of others Marcantonios.
In 1539 he obtained from the Avogaria di Comun the requisite for his entry into the Maggior Consiglio, and three years later, he took his first public position as supervisor of galleys. He was elected in October 1546 among the governors of the Collegio della milizia da mar; in January 1551, he took up a galley and in 1552, he was one of the 20 trireme governors.
In 1553, he was granted the position of Capitano delle fuste. Girolamo served as administrator in Marano [Murano?] between 1556 and 1557, and returned to the sea the following year as one of the twenty five galley governors: the fight against piracy must have been his main activity as captain of the Cyprus guard. After a period of absence from public service, he returned to his duties as governor of galleys in 1566 and for the next two years as superintendent.
He was elected again in 1569 among the governors of the Collegio della milizia da mar, and re-elected in 1570 while the fleet was being armed against the Turks.
In 1571, he was one of the six assistants of Vincenzo Morosini [2] for the defence of the Lido before the advance of the Turk. Administrator in Zante in that same year, he was elected Procurator of San Marco in April 1572, thanks to a loan of 16,000 ducats to the Signoria.
In 1573, he obtained the position of administrator of the Armar, for which he was elected once more in 1576. He was one of the procurators in charge to sustain the canopy of the king of France, Henry III de Valois, during his visit to Venice in 1574, hosted as special guest of Giovanni Grimani.
I. Alvise Priuli [1] (Venice, 1500 – Padua, 1560)
Alvise, who was born around 1500 in an uncertain date, was a character connected to the main figures of Italian Reformation by close bonds of friendship [2]. We know very few, if anything, about his father [3], however, his family was one of the most influential in Venice since they were bankers of the Serenissima.
In 1522, he joined his brother Antonio in the management of his new bank beside the bridge in Rialto. This same year, Antonio had been involved in the murder of Giorgio Loredan, son of the chief of the Council of Ten.
During the trials, he became absolved of the exile sentence, partially, due to the support of his father in law Alvise Pisani, and due to the fact that, during the last two years, he was conclavist for one of the characters we are postulating de nuovo in the Veronese ‘s Wedding, the Cardinal Domenico Grimani.
Conversely, Alvise felt more comfortable with the literary than the trade activity, and he studied Aristotelian philosophy, Latin and Greek in Padua.
Later, from 1532 when he met English Cardinal Reginald Pole, he devoted his life to join and assist him in his diplomatic missions, lodging him frequently in his villa of Treville (Piamonte) during Pole ‘s stay at Padua and Venice, unttil December 1536. At that moment, Paul III appointed Pole cardinal in Rome and member of the commission in charge of writing the Consilium de emendanda Ecclesia.
During these years, they both visited the Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore with regularity, where Alvise‘s old friend Gasparo Contarini and other humanists often got together with his brother Antonio to deal with their common affairs [4]. He was also friend with Pietro Bembo and his secretary Ludovico Beccadelli, to whom he himself recommended to Contarini for the same role. Ludovico would travel later accompanying Pole and Priuli (to whom he kept correspondence until his death), during their diplomatic assignments.
In February 1536, Alvise brought to Rome a manuscript from Pole [5] that was incomplete to be reviewed by Contarini. This text contains references to a previous written piece where the cardinal conducted a kind discussion between his two common friends, Priuli and the bishop of Fano, Cosimo Gheri [6].
He came back to Rome along with Pole in October, and he accompanied him later on, in his position of legate, to France and Flandes in 1537; to Niza in 1538, together with the pope Paul III Farnesio, where an armistice between the emperor Charles V and Francisco I of France [7] was concluded. They went to Spain in 1539, in conjunction with Beccadelli: in Toledo as legate before Charles V, and later in Barcelona. Finally, they stayed at the Franciscan monastery of Montélimar for six months, before returning to Rome at the end of that year.
In 1541, after Pole was transferred to Viterbo as papal legate, and knowing about the Ratisbona agreements, Alvise was his agent in Rome to deal in his name with the cardinals who had attended the conference, among them Gian Pietro Carafa and Pietro Bembo. His objective was to promote the agreement for the Contarini ‘s proposal on “justification”, however the prelates were not in a receptive position.
In Viterbo, he was a very active member of the spirituali circle around the English cardinal ― known as ecclesia viterbensis ―, mainly composed by some of the most relatives to Spanish humanist Juan de Valdés, settled at Naples and who recently died on that same year. Among them were Giovanni Morone, Marcantonio Flaminio, Vittoria Colonna, Giulia Gonzaga, and Pietro Carnesecchi. Some of Valdés’ texts and the first edition for the Beneficio de Cristo were arranged here for the printing [8].
He accompanied Pole to Trent, from November 1542 to May 1543 in order to attend the preparations of the future Council of Trent, and two years later, when the conference began, he was proposed as its secretary, a position he rejected as Flaminio previously did: they both assisted Pole during the first announcement between 1545 and 1546.
Later in 1549-50, he was with Pole at the conclave on February 7th, where, confronted to Giulio III [9], he was not elected pope just for one vote because of the propaganda of his antagonist and chair of the Holy Office, Gian Pietro Carafa. Carafa included Pole ― la “casa apóstata del cardenal de Inglaterra” ―, Morone, Flaminio, and Priuli, beside his own nephew [10], among the highest exponents of the “scola maledetta” of Juan de Valdés, who had infected all Italian lands [11].
They both were at Brescia on a retreat in the abbey of Maguzzano in 1553.
That same year, after the ascension to the throne of his own cousin Mary Tudor, Pole was appointed papal legate to England by Giulio III, then departing along with Priuli to London in November 1554. The legation included also to Matteo, the son of Alvise ‘s eldest brother Antonio, until 1556.
In the consistory dated to 21st August 1556, when Carafa was already pontiff (same as Paul IV), the return privilege was revoked. This privilege had been reserved by his predecessor the diocese in Brescia to Priuli when his owner Durante Duranti would die [12]. After this measure, the govern of Venice, which was presided by an Alvise ‘s relative, the Dux Lorenzo Priuli [13], contacted immediately their ambassador at Rome, Bernardo Navagero, to intervene in his favour.
However, Navagero delayed the request before the pope in two occasions, adducing his discomfort with Charles V and the Duke of Alba and, in a broad sense, to all imperialists. The reason was because of the recent ignited war with the Reign of Naples: in the audience of October 2nd 1556, he again avoided Alvise ‘s case after he advocated the benefits related to the elect Patriarch of Aquileia, Danielle Barbaro.
In the consistory of April 9th 1557, Carafa promulgated a disposition ordering all agents, nuncios and papal legates of Charles V and Philipp II territories to return to Rome. This circumstance seized Pole his nominal England legation, which was assigned to the English Franciscan William Peto [14], before the astonishment of the whole Roman curia. Peto was appointed cardinal during the consitory on June 14th, assuming the role of personal confessor for the queen. At the end of the session, the Cardinal Ranuccio Farnesio [15] claimed and obtained the bishopric of Brescia from the pope in order to grant it to the titular ‘s nephew, Alessandro Duranti. In this way, he blocked Priuli ‘s rights once and for all, which again were not defended by Navagero.
According to one of his letters of June 18th, the Cardinal Pacheco declared that the revocation of his entry have been ordained by Paul IV “more for the priest Priuli than for others”, and his agent added that also a trial by heresy against Priuli was being instructed [16].
In the consistory of July 2nd 1557, Navagero, pushed by the Venetian Senate, finally exposed Alvise ‘s case reminding the pope persistently, unsuccessfully however, that Giulio III granted his benefit to Priuli knowing that Brescia was a strategic territory for Venice, and that he made it up with the consent of all the cardinals, including the titular Durante.
On August 7th, the English ambassador Carne [17] gave to the pope two letters, one from the queen Mary Tudor urging him to reconsider Pole ‘s legate, and a second one form Peto himself stating his will to reject both the new position and the cardinal nomination, because of his old age. Visibly disturbed by the queen ‘s letter, Paul IV promised him to study the case along with his cardinals and to notify him on their decision.
In October 23rd, while the titular Duranti was severely ill, and again pushed by the Venetian Senate who demanded priority for Priuli even before Soranzo ‘s case [18], Navagero insisted again to the pontiff. At that moment, the pope declared that he was willing to please the demands of the Serenissima, however, the decisions of the consistory could not be revoked. The ambassador then offered an alternative procedure triggering the pontiff ‘s anger, who declared that Priuli was an heretic and that it was a proven fact: “He belonged to that coursed school and to that apostate house of the cardinal of England, to whom why do you think we removed his legation? You ‘ll never see a good end, we are on the verge of proceeding and arresting them” [19].
Referring to the “scola maledetta”, where his own nephew was part too, he declared that Pole have been the “master”, and Morone the “disciple”, however Morone finally became worse than the master, and brought the discussion to an end with the words: “Magnificent ambassador, say nothing more on this topic, because if our own father would be heretic, we ourselves would bring the logs to burn him” [20]. In his letter of November 5th to the Senate, Navagero declared, by means of his informers, that Paul IV would never restore Priuli ‘s right to accede the position. Furthermore, he added that his cause was connected with those of Pole and Morone and probably with Vittore Soranzo ‘s one, to whom “they wished to catch in their hands to draw out anything against them” [21].
He also added to have been informed that the granting of the bishopry of Brescia could have been revoked favouring Priuli because it happened in a tumultuous way during the closing of the consistory, and because Duranti was illiterate and was not benefited from the confidence of the Dux” [22].
Next year, Cardinal Pole died in London on November 17th, scarcely a few hours later than his own cousin, the queen Mary Tudor, both affected by “fevers”. The alluded problems affecting the position in which Priuli must have assumed, probably dissuaded him of an immediate return to Italy at that moment.
After attending the testamentary dispositions of his colleague, Alvise abandoned London definitely in December 1559. He spent some months in France and arrived in Padua on May 3rd 1560, bringing with him many of Pole ‘s writings to review and printing them.
He died in Padua two months later, on July 15th, due to malaria fevers, which he endured since 1556. Sources seem to point that the new pope Pius IV had decided to clean him up for the unfair treatment received by his predecessor by awarding him the bishopric of Verona, vacant from a few days ago [23].
He was buried in Venice, at the San Severo church, nowadays lost.
Appendix 2. Plates / Láminas
  1. Alessandro Vittoria: retratos 1
  2. Alessandro Vittoria: retratos 2
  3. Jacopo Tintoretto: autorretratos
  4. Daniele Barbaro
  5. Daniele Barbaro
  6. Marcantonio Barbaro
  7. Gasparo Contarini
  8. Familia Contarini
  9. Reginald Pole 1
  10. Reginald Pole 2
  11. Familia Priuli
  12. Girolamo Grimani
  13. Familia Grimani
  14. Giovanni VI Grimani
  15. Domenico Grimani
  16. Monjes Benedictinos
  17. Pintores-músicos venecianos
  18. Músicos, pintores, y polígrafos
  19. Pietro Aretino
  20. Familia Navagero
  21. Trazado de la numeración de personajes
  22. Personajes identificados, según nuestro modelo
  23. Las Bodas de Caná, 1563
  24. Dramatis personae
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