Hired to Depress: A Digital Scholarly Edition of William Blake's Annotations to Sir Joshua Reynolds' Discourses

Pope Leo X

Julius II (Giuliano della Rovere) was regarded as both the “Warrior Pope” and “Pope of the Renaissance.” His patronage was impressive, including the Cortile del Belvedere (1503-1512), St. Peter’s Basilica (1505-1626), the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo (1508-1512), and Raphael Rooms at the Vatican Palace (1509-1517).

His successor Pope Leo X (Giovanni de Medici) invigorated Rome as a cultural and political center but devastated the papal treasury.  Leo X supported more scholars and poets including Pietro Bembo, Baldassare Castiglione, and many others. Pope Leo X prized Raphael over other artists; he commissioned further work on the frescoes in the Stanza dell’Incendio, portraits, and the Ten Tapestries which illustrate the Acts of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Interestingly, Leo X sent Michelangelo to work Florence and provided no substantial commissions to artists like il Sodoma and Leonardo da Vinci.

Pope Adrian VII was taken aback by his predecessor Leo X’s lavish spending on all forms of art and lifestyle. Severe cuts were made to restore papal funding in the face of impending Charles V’s army and the Reformation galvanized. In 1527, zealous converts inspired by Martin Luther joined King Charles V's efforts and contributed both soldiers and funding to destroy the Papal state. The devastation of Rome led to some of the brightest stars of the renaissance to leave Italy altogether, like Leonardo da Vinci who fled to France.

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