Friday, 7 March 2014

Daughters of Rome

On this Festa delle Donne I would like to remember Felice della Rovere. Felice was the illegitimate daughter of Cardinal Della Rovere , the future Pope Julius II. From this inauspicious beginning she went on to become one of the most powerful women of the Italian Renaissance.
She married in to the powerful Orsini family and ran a grain export business that made her one of the wealthiest women in Rome. This reserved and understated woman performed heroic feats for her children to preserve their inheritance.
She would have witnessed Michelangelo and Raphael working in the Vatican. Indeed both of these giants of the Renaissance immortalised Felice in their work.
Raphael depicted Felice in 'The Mass of Bolsena' in the Stanza di Eliodoro.

She is seen here in the dark dress, looking lovingly towards her father who is celebrating mass.
Michelangelo based his sculpture of Rachel, on Julius II's tomb in the church of St Pietro in Vincoli, on Felice.

If you would like to know more about this remarkable women I can recommend reading 'The Pope's Daughter' by Caroline P Murphy.

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