THE DELLA ROVERE
The Italian family which had two popes and three dukes of Urbino, all patrons of art.
Francesco della Rovere (1414-1484) became pope in 1471 with the name of SistoIV. As a patron of art he played a key role in the transformation of Rome from a medieval to a Renaissance city. His most famous foundation is the chapel in the Vatican named after him, the Sistine Chapel. Giuliano della Rovere (1453-1513), who in 1503 became Pope GiulioII was one of the most formidable personalities of all the popes (“hated by many and feared by all”) and the greatest patron of art of his time; he commissioned Bramante, Michelangelo and Raffaello to create some of the main works of European art: the new St. Peter's (begun in 1506), the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512) and the decorations of the Vatican Rooms (begun in 1508).