Martin V

(Oddo Colonna; r. 1417-1431)
   Martin V's election to the papal throne ended the Great Schism. At the Council of Constance, John XXII and Benedict XIII were deposed, Gregory XII was forced to abdicate, and Martin was elected as sole occupant of the papal throne. Martin was a Colonna, the member of one of the oldest and most powerful families of Rome. He was educated in law at the University of Perugia, and appointed protonotary by Urban VI and cardinal deacon by Innocent VII. Having attained the papacy, Martin was able to reestablish its seat in Rome in 1420 through his family's backing. He granted concessions to Queen Joanna II of Naples to effect the removal of the Neapolitan troops that occupied Rome, and to the condottiere Braccione di Montone who then dominated central Italy. Martin recognized Braccione as Lord of Perugia, but then defeated him in the Battle of L'Aquila in 1424. In Rome, Martin sought to reaffirm the power and prestige of his office and to rescue the city from the disrepair into which it had fallen during the schism. To this effect, he began a reconstruction campaign of the major pilgrimage sites, including St. John Lateran, Santa Maria Maggiore, and the portico of Old St. Peter's. He also commissioned from Masolino the altarpiece for Santa Maria Maggiore that depicts the church's founding (Miracle of the Snow, c. 1423; Naples, Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte) and from Gentile da Fabriano frescoes depicting the life of St. John the Baptist and prophets (now destroyed) for the walls of St. John Lateran. With this, Martin laid the foundations for the development of the Renaissance in Rome.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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