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The Albani were an aristocratic Roman family of Albanian origin who originally moved to Urbino from the region of Malësi e Madhe in Albania. Originally having the surname Chigi, the members of this family attained the highest dignities in the Roman Catholic Church, one, Giovanni Francesco Albani, having been elected as Pope Clement XI.
Albani Family Coat of Arms
|Current region||Urbino, Italy|
|Place of origin||Malësi e Madhe, Albania|
The Albani family originated from Albania by two brothers, George and Fillip. After serving in the Albanian-Venetian War in the 15th century, they sought refuge in Italy, where they settled in Urbino and adapted the new surname "Albani". After a short while, they rose to high status and were trusted in many inner circles within the church and the government. One of the first and most prominent members of the family, Gian Girolamo Albani, started the family on the path to government affiliation. Many members of the family took after him and pursued government and church leadership.
Back in 16th century Italy, the Albani Family were very influential, and in some ways, they still are. Many of the male family members reached out for positions in government and the church. With allegiance to their God and their country being so important to everyone in that era, the Albani family name gained a lot of respect and influence over the course of the years in many different fields.
Back in the Age of the Enlightenment in Italy, religion was everything. Every one followed the church and looked to the leaders of the church for guidance. The church held a lot of power back then, and there were many members of the family who held high positions in the Catholic Church.
Though many of the family members held positions with the church, there were also a few that held government jobs. Many of them were cardinals or diplomats in there time, whilst some others dealt in the armed forces. One of the more prominent members of the family, Giovanni Girolamo Albani, was a cardinal and a vice commander of armed forces in the Serenissima Republic. Others dealt with foreign affairs such as Gian Francesco Albani.
Though none of the family members were known artists, the family had a lot of pull in the artistic world. Much of the knowledge we have about the Albani' in the art world consists of purchased collections and controversy surrounding them. One of the major pieces they were associated with was a portrait of some of the major members of the family called "Sette Ritratti Albani". It's known as "one of the most compelling group portraits in Italy". An example of the controversy surrounding the family within the world of the fine arts is that one of the paintings the Albani owned, a portrait of one of its most prominent members, Gian Girolamo Albani. It caused conflict because in the beginning, no one recognized the subject of the painting, and questioned why he was wearing symbols of high ranking. He wore a lynx coat and a gold cross, symbolizing high status and rank, but no one knew who he was, or if he deserved to be dressed in such a fashion.
The Albani Family library, also known as the Clementine Library, was made and named for one of the most prominent members of the family, Giovanni Francesco Albani. The library contains over 10,000 printed books and pamphlets, which date from 1473 to the early nineteenth century, though the majority were printed in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries Over, 1,000 volumes in the collection relate to the history of Canon, Roman and Feudal Law. Many of these works are completely unique and exist no where else. Though the library originally existed in the house of Albani Family in Urbino, Italy, the Catholic University of America acquired the collection in 1928 and has worked to preserve its knowledge ever since.
- Alessandro Albani (1692–1779), Italian aristocrat and cardinal
- Annibale Albani (1682–1751), Italian Cardinal
- Gian Girolamo Albani (1504–1591)
- Gian Francesco Albani (1720–1803), Roman Catholic Cardinal
- Giovanni Francesco Albani (Pope Clement XI) (1649–1721)
- Giuseppe Albani (1750–1834), Italian Roman Catholic Cardinal
- Herbermann, Charles George; Knights of Columbus, Catholic Truth Committee (1913). The Catholic Encyclopedia. The New York Public Library: Robert Appleton Company. p. 255. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- George L. Williams, Papal Genealogy: The Families and Descendants of the Popes, (McFarland & Company, 1998), 116.
- George L. Williams, Papal Genealogy: The Families and Descendants of the Popes, 221.
- Christo, Van. "Pope Clement XI and the Albani Family | The Frosina Information Network.” N.p., n.d. Web. 8 September 2017.
- Bayer, Andrea, and N.Y.) Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York. Painters of Reality: The Legacy of Leonardo and Caravaggio in Lombardy. New York; New Haven: Metropolitan Museum of Art ; Yale University Press, 2004. Print.
- Ave, The Catholic University of America * 620 Michigan, N. E. * Washington, and Dc 20064. “The Clementine Library - University Libraries.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 September 2017.
- George L. Williams, Papal Genealogy: The Families and Descendants of the Popes, 117.
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