Francesco Maria I della Rovere

Francesco Maria I della Rovere (25 March 1490[1] – 20 October 1538) was an Italian condottiero, who was Duke of Urbino from 1508 to 1516 and, after retaking the throne from Lorenzo II de' Medici, from 1521 to 1538.

Francesco Maria I
Portrait by Titian, c. 1536–38
Duke of Urbino
Reign11 April 1508 – 1516
PredecessorGuidobaldo I
SuccessorLorenzo II de' Medici
ReignDecember 1521 – 20 October 1538
PredecessorLorenzo II de' Medici
SuccessorGuidobaldo II
Born(1490-03-22)22 March 1490
Senigallia, Duchy of Urbino
Died20 October 1538(1538-10-20) (aged 48)
Urbino, Duchy of Urbino
SpouseEleonora Gonzaga
IssueGiulia, Lady of Montecchio
Elisabetta, Marchioness of Massa
Guidobaldo II, Duke of Urbino
Cardinal Giulio
Ippolita, Duchess of Montalto
FatherGiovanni della Rovere
MotherGiovanna da Montefeltro

Biography edit

He was born in Senigallia, the son of the Papal captain and lord of that city, Giovanni della Rovere, and of Giovanna da Montefeltro, daughter of Federico III da Montefeltro. He was also the nephew of Giuliano della Rovere, Pope Julius II.

Portrait of Eleonora Gonzaga by Titian, 1538

His uncle Guidobaldo I of Urbino, who was heirless, called him at his court, and named him as heir of that dukedom in 1504 through the intercession of Julius II. In 1502 the della Rovere had lost the seigniory of Senigallia, occupied by Cesare Borgia, then the most powerful figure in the Marche: Francesco Maria and his mother were saved from the slaughter perpetrated by Borgia's troops by the then-land soldier Andrea Doria. When in 1508 Guidobaldo died, Francesco Maria became duke of Urbino; thanks to the support of his uncle the pope he could also recover Senigallia after Borgia's death.

In 1508 he married Eleonora Gonzaga (1493–1570), daughter of Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua and Isabella d'Este.

Figure from Raphael's The School of Athens (1509–11), possibly Francesco della Rovere, although others think it is the philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.[2][3]

In 1509 he was appointed as capitano generale (commander-in-chief) of the Papal States, and subsequently fought in the Italian Wars against Ferrara and Venice. In 1511, after he had failed to conquer Bologna, he had the cardinal Francesco Alidosi killed by his troops, a cruel action for which he was compared to Borgia himself. In 1513 he was created also lord of Pesaro.

However, the death of Julius II deprived him of his main political patron, and under the new pope, Leo X, Pesaro was given to the latter's nephew, Lorenzo II de' Medici. In 1516 he was excommunicated and ousted from Urbino, which he tried unsuccessfully to recover the following year. He could return in his duchy only after Leo's death in 1521.

Young Man with an Apple, portrait of Francesco Maria as a teenager by Raphael, 1504.

Della Rovere fought as captain general of the Republic of Venice in Lombardy during the Italian Wars of 1521 (1523–1525), but with the new Medici Pope, Clement VII, the della Rovere were increasingly marginalized. As supreme commander of the Holy League, his inaction against the Imperial invasion troops is generally listed as one of the causes of the Sack of Rome (1527).

He was a protagonist of the capture of Pavia in the late 1520s, and later fought for the Republic of Venice. Later he arranged the marriage of son Guidobaldo to Giulia da Varano (belonging to another former seigniory family of the region) to counter the Papal power in the Marche.

He died in Pesaro, poisoned. Some scholars suggest that The Murder of Gonzago, an unknown play referenced in William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, which is itself later reworked by Hamlet into The Mousetrap (the play within the play), may have been a popular theatrical reenactment of Della Rovere's death and may have been portrayed in England's early theaters during the Elizabethan Era.[4]

Issue edit

References edit

  1. ^ James Dennistoun (1851). Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino, illustrating the arms, arts, and literature of Italy, from 1440 to 1630. Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. pp. 301.
  2. ^ Wojciehowski, Hannah Chapelle (2011). Group Identity in the Renaissance World. Cambridge University Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-107-00360-6.
  3. ^ The National Quarterly Review. Pudney & Russell. 4 June 1864. p. 133 – via Internet Archive. Francesco della Rovere school of athens.
  4. ^ McGee, Arthur (1 September 2007). "The Elizabethan Hamlet". Retrieved 1 September 2007.
  5. ^ Later legitimised and named Marchese di San Lorenzo. Ippolito's daughter Lucrezia married Marcantonio Lante and their son assumed the new extended surname as Ippolito Lante Montefeltro della Rovere

Sources edit

  • Rendina, Claudio (1994). I capitani di ventura. Rome: Newton Compton.

External links edit

Italian nobility
Preceded by Duke of Sora
Succeeded by
Preceded by Duke of Urbino
1508–1516 (1517)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Duke of Urbino
Succeeded by
Preceded by Duke of Sora
Succeeded by