Gossip and reputation in sixteenth‐century Rome: Tommaso de’Cavalieri and Lavinia della Valle
Tommaso de’Cavalieri is best known as the young man who attracted Michelangelo’s passionate attention in the early 1530s. The recipient of drawings, poems, and letters from the artist, Cavalieri was also a high ranking member of Roman society. This article details the traces of Cavalieri’s public reputation at the time of his marriage in 1544 to Lavinia della Valle. Relying on unpublished and overlooked literary sources, this article provides a more nuanced and thorough accounting of Cavalieri’s place in sixteenth‐century Rome, not only as Michelangelo’s beloved and most trusted friend, but as a member of the Roman establishment, a veteran of several terms in public office, an advisor to popes and cardinals on artistic matters, a collector of antiquities, drawings, and other artworks, and a husband and father.
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