chapter  1
30 Pages

L’Orsa e la Colonna

The patronage of Felice Orsini and Marco Antonio II Colonna
WithValerio Morucci

The Marco Antonio Colonna and the Felice Orsini, who were leaders of the Roman aristocracy, acquired power and prosperity through papal support. They exercised hegemony both inside and outside Rome, where feudal authority was never subjugated. The investigation of Felice and her husband's contributions as patrons is a study of the intricacies of conjugal patronage. Felice's role in artistic commissions and the hiring of musicians at court is difficult to assess due to the paucity of archival data and indistinct attributions. During the period of 1560–1577, there are indications of Felice's connection to religious patronage in the city, particularly to the Oratorians. The involvement of the Colonnas in the patronage of early madrigal composers is also evidenced in their support of the publication of Libro primo della serena, one of the first madrigal collections published in Rome. Pietro Vinci was the most prolific of the Colonnas' musicians.