Cardinal of Naples and Cardinal in Rome: The Patronage of Oliviero Carafa

Norman, Diana (2009). Cardinal of Naples and Cardinal in Rome: The Patronage of Oliviero Carafa. In: Hollingsworth, Mary and Richardson, Carol M. eds. The Possessions of a Cardinal: Politics, Piety, and Art, 1450-1700. University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, pp. 77–91.


This essay focuses on the artistic patronage of the Neapolitan cardinal, Oliviero Carafa (1430-1511). Best known for his commissioning of Filippino Lippi’s frescoes (1488-93) in the south transept chapel of the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, Oliviero Carafa also financed and supported a wide variety of other kinds of Roman and Neapolitan artistic project. It is argued in this essay that the impetus for Cardinal Carafa’s highly active role as a patron of art arose not only from his fierce loyalty to his family and to his native city of Naples but also from his status as a particularly long-lived and powerful member of the College of Cardinals in Rome. In addition, a strong case is be made that in order to understand the distinctive style of Oliviero Carafa’s artistic patronage it is necessary to look beyond his substantial wealth and high ecclesiastical status to the inspiration that he derived from the work of contemporary humanist scholars, many of whom belonged to his inner circle and who dedicated treatises to him. It was these scholars who provided Cardinal Carafa with the intellectual and moral rationale and justification for his considerable record and achievement as a patron of renaissance art.

Viewing alternatives

No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions