0095 Legitimacy through Art in the Rome of Gregory XIII

The Commission to Baldassarre Croce in the Fonseca Chapel of San Giacomo degli Spagnoli

  • James W. Nelson Novoa (Author)
    Universidade de Lisboa / Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia Portugal

    James W. Nelson Novoa received his Ph.D. in Spanish Philology from the University of Valencia in Spain in 2003. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow of the Fundação para Ciência e Tecnologia of Portugal and linked to the Faculty of Letters at the University of Lisbon. The author of numerous articles, book chapters and a book, Los Diálogos de amor de León Hebreo en el marco sociocultural sefardí del siglo XVI, he is currently a researcher at Cátedra "Alberto Benveniste" de Estudos Sefarditas, Universidade de Lisboa. Among his research fields are the literary and cultural heritage of Sephardic Jewry in the Early Modern period, Italo-Iberian literary and cultural relations in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the Iberian community in Rome in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Identifiers (Article)


The article deals with the commission made out by the Portuguese merchant banker António da Fonseca to Baldassarre Croce to decorate his family chapel in the church of San Giacomo degli Spagnoli in Rome, the national church of Castille. Fonseca was an outsider on account of his being Portuguese and of Jewish origin yet chose to have his family interred there in a chapel dedicated to the Resurrection. The choice of the church itself, the commission to Croce, and the Resurrection motif fits into a strategy on his part to seek legitimacy and social capital for himself and his family in order to integrate into Roman society.