«Sua Maestà lascia a Vostra Eminenza l’ordinare l’historia e figure che stimerà più a proposito». I Barberini e doni diplomatici ai reali inglesi nel Seicento
Paintings and sculptures have always populated European royal collections, and the English one is no exception. What was the political function of these artworks? The article considers, as case studies, two paintings – Bacchus and Ariadne by Reni and the Wedding of Paleo and Teti by Romanelli – sent to Charles I Stuart by Francesco Romanelli as a diplomatic gift. He had guessed correctly that the gift of his masterpieces would have been an excellent way to obtain the attention of the royal court, mainly as he aspired to convert the English crown to Catholicism. This episode sheds new light on how images can define and redefine paintings’ role in political propaganda during the 17th century.
Keywords: European art • History of collections • Baroque • Art and power • Diplomatic gift