"Pope Sixtus IV Appointing Platina as Prefect of the Vatican Library" by Melozzo da Forlì

Once the frontispiece of the Vatican Library, which was founded just 2 years earlier by Sixtus IV, the fresco is a celebration of papal patronage and nepotism. Not only does the pope appoint the Humanist Bartolomeo Platina (kneeling) as prefect of the library, he is also depicted surrounded by his nephews whom he has raised to prestigious positions. Beginning with Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, who stands facing him in his red and white robes, and who later became Pope Julius II, to Cardinal Raffaello Riario – the wealthiest man in Rome – who stands next to the pope, to Girolamo Riario, lord of Imola, to the celebrated condottiere Giovanni della Rovere, the painting is a veritable display of “All the Pope’s Men.”

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