Barbaro family

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This article is about the historical Venetian family. For the modern criminal organization, see Barbaro 'ndrina.
The Glorification of the Barbaro Family by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

The Barbaro family was a patrician family of Venice. They were wealthy and influential and owned large estates in the Veneto above Treviso.[1]:112 Various members were noted as church leaders, diplomats, patrons of the arts, military commanders, philosophers, scholars, and scientists.[2]:150[3]:275

History[edit]

Barbaro family tradition claims they were descended the Roman gens Catellia[3]:274[4]:11 and more distantly from the Fabii.[4]:11 Like other Venetian patrician families, they also claimed descent from Roman families with similar names, in this case Ahenobarbus.[5][6] Tradition also says they fled to Istria to avoid persecution during the reign of Emperor Diocletian.[3]:274 The family’s wealth came from the salt trade.[7]

Records show the family moved from Pula to Trieste in 706 and then to Venice in 868.<[3]:274[4]:11[8]:161 At this time the family's surname was Magadesi.[9]:87[10]:136 (Alternate spellings were Magadezzi[4]:11[8]:161 and Maghadesi.)[11]:7

The first recorded member of the family was Paolo Magadesi, who was Procurator of San Marco.[4]:14[11]:8 Charles Yriarte says this occurred when Pietro Tradonico was Doge of Venice (836-864),[11]:8 though most sources say the family did not live in Venice until later.[3]:274[4]:11[8]:161 An Antonio Magadesi was also Procurator of San Marco in 968.[12]:346 and Johannes Magadesi was a presbyter of the Church of San Zorzi in 982 and has also been cited as the first member of the Barbaro family that we have a historical record of.[3]:274

Recorded genealogy of the Barbaro family begins in 1121 with Marco, naval commander and creator of the modern coat of arms,[3]:275 who changed his surname name from Magadesi to Barbaro.[4]:12[9]:87

The Barbaro family was recognized as one of the leading families (Ottomati) of the Republic of Venice in the year 992. In 1297, the Maggior Consiglio (Senate of Venice) recognized the family as patricians[3]:275 The Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia confirmed the family status as Patricians as part of a series of resolutions issued from 1818-1821.[3]:275 This status was officially recorded again in Venice in 1891 for all members of the family.[3]:275

In the sixteenth century there was a division between those Venetian families who opposed or favored the influence of the Holy See. The latter opposed the law that barred holders of church offices from also holding political appointments in Venice. The Barbaro family was part of this "papalist" group, along with the Badoer, Corner, Emo, Foscari, Grimani, and Pisani families.[13]:113 These families also acted as patrons of Battista Franco, Palladio, Francesco Salviati, Michele Sanmicheli, Giovanni da Udine, and Federico Zuccari.[13]:113

The Barbaro family fortunes diminished after Napoleon's defeat of Venice and they had to turn most of the Palazzi Barbaro into apartments.[2]:150 By the time art critic John Ruskin visited Venice in 1851 all that was left of the once powerful Barbaro family were a pair of elderly brothers living in poverty in the garret of the Palazzo Barbaro.[14]:20

Ruskin wrote that the poverty of these last members of the Barbaro family was justice for the family having rebuilt the Church of Santa Maria Zobenigo as a monument to themselves, which Ruskin called “a manifestation of insolent atheism”.[14]:78 The last of the family died in the mid-nineteenth century.[2]:150

Some branches of the family survived outside Venice. The most prominent was in Malta, but there were also branches in Galatia and other parts of Italy.[3]:277

Family arms[edit]

There is disagreement over the form of the ancient Barbaro coat of arms. Johannes Rietstap and others identify it as “'D'or, à deux bandes d'azur, accompagne de deux roses du même”, a gold field with two bands of blue between two roses of the same color.[4]:13[11]:9[15] d'Eschavannes identifies it as “D'azur, à trois roses d'or”', a blue field with three gold roses.[16]:53

The Barbaro coat of arms

Sources agree that the modern Barbaro coat of arms is ’'D'argent, au cyclamore de gueules, a red ring on a white field.[3]:503[16]:53[17]

The modern Barbaro family arms were officially recognized by the Venetian Senate in 1125 in remembrance of Marco Barbaro cutting off the hand of a Moor during a naval action near Ascalon and using the bleeding stump to draw a circle onto a turban, which he flew as a pennant from his masthead.[10]:135[11]:7[18][19][20][21]

Until this incident, he was known as Marco Magadesi.[4]:12[8]:161[9]:87 Saracens boarded the galley he commanded and tore down the ship's flag, which bore the family coat of arms.[4]:12[8]:161 Marco Magadesi used the bloody turban as an improvised flag to let the rest of the fleet know his ship had not been captured.[4]:12[8]:161 After the action, he changed his family name from Magadesi to Barbaro<[8]:161 in recognition of the incident and to honor the heroism of his fallen enemies, who he considered barbarians.[4]:11

The Barbaro coat of arms are depicted on the façade of the church of Santa Maria Zobenigo.[22]:307 It is also displayed on the pediment of the Villa Barbaro and the family crypt in the San Francesco della Vigna.[11]:10[23]

In 1432, Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor granted Ambassador Francesco Barbaro the title of Knight of the Holy Roman Empire and the right to quarter his arms with the Imperial Eagles.[3]:275 In 1560, Queen Elizabeth I of England granted Ambassador Daniele Barbaro right to use the Tudor Rose in his personal arms.[3]:275

Notable members[edit]

The brothers Daniele Barbaro and Marcantonio Barbaro, were patrons of the architect Andrea Palladio and the painter Paolo Veronese.[24] Barbaro-family members acted as deans and professors of the University of Padua. Several members were also Patriarchs of Aquileia.[3]:275[11]:11[25]

Ermolao Barbaro
Daniele Barbaro as a high-ranking cleric by Paolo Veronese (the books in the painting are by Barbaro himself)
Marcantonio Barbaro depicted by Tintoretto.

Patronage[edit]

The Barbaro family commissioned works from and actively supported the careers of several men. This list includes:

Architecture[edit]

The Barbaro family was connected to several buildings in and near Venice, some of which include:

  • The Palazzi Barbaro, located near the Ponte dell'Accademia, was the family's principal residence in Venice.[1]:112 until 1864.[12]:282"The buildings are also known as the Palazzo Barbaro-Curtis.[12]:282 It is one of the least altered of the Gothic palaces of Venice.[1]:112
  • Another Palazzo Barbaro owned by a Daniele Barbaro and in 1797 by a Marco Barbaro.[12]:58
  • Yet another Palazzo Barbaro, near the Palazzo Barbarigo. It was owned in 1661 by a Lorenzo Barbaro and in 1712 by a Francesco Antonio Barbaro, but by 1740 it belonged to the Barbarigo family.[12]:298
  • The Palazzo Dario was built about 1450 by Zuanne Dario. After the death of diplomat Giovanni Dario in 1494, his daughter inherited. She was married to Vincenzo Barbaro, the son of Giacomo Barbaro and owner of the neighboring Palazzo Barbaro.[12]:329
  • Another Palazzo Barbaro, now known as the Palazzo Barbaro-Volkoff or Barbaro-Wolkoff. This 14th-century Gothic palace was owned by an Antonio Barbaro in 1797. Eleonora Duse later lived there.[12]:330
  • Starting in 1534, Fra Zuanne Barbaro was one of two friars who were responsible for rebuilding the Church of San Francesco della Vigna according to the design of Jacopo Sansovino. Zuanne's brother Francisco was the first Venetian noble to purchase a family chapel there.[1]:112 Daniele Barbaro commissioned the church's altarpiece of' 'The Baptism of Christ (c.1555) by Battista Franco and was buried in an unmarked grave in behind the church instead of in the family chapel.[1]:113
  • The church of Santa Maria Zobenigo, also known as the Santa Maria de Giglio was built around 900 by the Zubenigo family, who died out in 1124. It was rebuilt between 1680 and 1700 by Giuseppe Sardi. The Barbaro family funded the rebuilding and the church contains statues of four members of the family. The façade shows plans for Rome, Corfu, Padua, Candia, Spalatro, and Pavia.[12]:54
  • The family also owned a property in the San Giovanni district. Ermolao Barbaro established an academy of philosophy there in 1484.[26]

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