Friday, March 30, 2012

Who is Giulia Farnese?

Hi everyone! I'm a little late this week on my blog post. Sorry about that. Rest assured that I have been using my time wisely- I just installed Draw Free on my phone, so that takes up about 8 hour of my day.....

Hey, speaking of drawing, our blog topic today was the subject of a lot of drawings...well, paintings to be exact.

She is Giulia Farnese. Who is Giulia Farnese? Well, she was the pope's mistress. Yep.

Giulia Farnese was born in Canino, Italy in 1474. She was from a relatively affluent family and was arranged to be married to Orsino Orsini. But, as is often the case, she did not love her arranged husband...even though he had one of the most awesomely alliterative names ever.

In comes Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (later Pope Alexander). The savvy TV watcher will know him as the guy played by Jeremy Irons in the HBO series The Borgias. Anyway, it's unclear exactly when Giulia started "confessing" to the Pope, but we do know that by November of 1493, Giulia was living in a palace built next door to the Vatican. This way, the Pope could easily, ahem, "bless" her.  Want to know the weird thing about all this? Almost everyone was relatively cool with this arrangement. Even good old Orsino. It was thought that by being the Pope's mistress, Giulia would be able to raise her husbands status.  Hmmm. Even the citizens of Rome were aware of the situation. Giulia was known as "the Pope's whore" or sarcastically "the bride of Christ."

Also, here's something- back then Pope's didn't have to be celibate. Celibacy was optional.

At this time, Giulia became close to the Pope's famous daughter, Lucrezia Borgia. And it was also during this time that Giulia became pregnant and gave birth to a little girl named Laura. No one knows if the kid was the Pope's or Orsino's, but Giulia claimed that her daughter was the Pope's. Giulia had hoped to raise the child's social status this way.

But, being the Pope's mistress isn't quite the bed of roses you might think it is. By 1500, Pope Alexander became bored of Giulia, due to her age. Yep, even back then guys were assholes. So, he kicked her out of Rome. It was also around this time that her husband died. So, Giulia went to live in Carbagnano, an area given to her late husband by the Pope himself. Weird.

Giulia still did pretty well with the suitors even though she was the Pope's sloppy seconds. She eventually married a member of the lower ranking Neapolitan nobility.

She died in 1524 at the age of 50. She died at the house of her brother, Cardinal Alessandro, who would later become Pope Paul III.

So there's the quick story on Giulia Farnese. And here's the lovely necklace I made. It's on sale today, so if you want a Pope's Whore necklace at a lower price, here's your chance:)

http://www.etsy.com/listing/90879646/on-sale-today-guilia-farnese-resin?nc=1




2 comments:

  1. I've studied this painting on the necklace and its history for several years and I have come to the conclusion that it is not in fact, Giulia, but her daughter, Laura. First, it is dated to around 1505-06. By this time, Giulia would have been much older than the girl in the painting appears to be. Also, it appears to be a betrothal painting which was done when a noblewoman got engaged or shortly after marriage and she is wearing a pearl on her necklace which was often worn by engaged or newly wedded women. Laura was married in 1505 so that coincides with the date of the painting. The unicorn is a symbol as well of a young engaged woman or newlywed as it symbolizes purity and the unicorn was also a symbol associated with Giulia's family. The girl in the painting also bears a resemblance to known portraits of Lucrezia Borgia (who would have been her 1/2 sister as she was also a daughter of Pope Alexander VI) and also Alexander's favorite mistress, Vannozza dei Cattanei, who Giulia was said to closely resemble even though they were no relation.

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  2. I've studied this painting on the necklace and its history for several years and I have come to the conclusion that it is not in fact, Giulia, but her daughter, Laura. First, it is dated to around 1505-06. By this time, Giulia would have been much older than the girl in the painting appears to be. Also, it appears to be a betrothal painting which was done when a noblewoman got engaged or shortly after marriage and she is wearing a pearl on her necklace which was often worn by engaged or newly wedded women. Laura was married in 1505 so that coincides with the date of the painting. The unicorn is a symbol as well of a young engaged woman or newlywed as it symbolizes purity and the unicorn was also a symbol associated with Giulia's family. The girl in the painting also bears a resemblance to known portraits of Lucrezia Borgia (who would have been her 1/2 sister as she was also a daughter of Pope Alexander VI) and also Alexander's favorite mistress, Vannozza dei Cattanei, who Giulia was said to closely resemble even though they were no relation.

    ReplyDelete