Nicholas V


Nicholas V
(Tommaso Parentucelli; 1447-1455)
   A native of Sarzana and the son of a physician, Nicholas was educated in Bologna. His father's death forced him to interrupt his studies and seek work in Florence. There, he refined his humanist interests in the Strozzi and Albizzi households where he worked as a tutor and made the acquaintance of the leading humanists of the day. In 1419, he was able to return to Bologna and complete his studies, after which he entered in the service of the bishop of Bologna, Niccoló Albergati. In 1444, Albergati died and Nicholas assumed his position as bishop. Eugene IV sent him on diplomatic missions in Italy and Germany, which earned him the cardinalate in 1446. Eugene died in the following year and Nicholas became pope. He immediately set out to embellish the city of Rome and make it the worthy capital of Christianity. Leon Battista Alberti acted as his advisor in Rome's restoration campaign. Nicholas repaired the Acqua Vergine to improve the city's water supply, widened streets, and renovated bridges, the buildings of the Capitol, major basilicas, and smaller churches. He also made improvements to the port of Ostia, the city's harbor, and extended the Vatican Palace, including the addition of a library to house his extensive collection of books. His chapel in the Vatican (the Chapel of Nicholas V) was frescoed by Fra Angélico in 1448 with scenes from the lives of Sts. Stephen and Lawrence. Nicholas also hired a number of humanists to his court, including Lorenzo Valla, to enhance culture in Rome.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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