Sixtus IV

Sixtus IV, born Francesco della Rovere in 1414, was elected pope in 1471 and held the office until his death in 1484. Little is concretely known about his history. He was likely born near Savona in northern Italy, possibly to a merchant family, and entered the Franciscan order, where he gained many titles and offices. He was made cardinal in 1467. Once chosen as pope, Sixtus IV attempted to gain the good graces of the Italian princes and the European kingdoms, but faced deepening political and economic strife with the Medicis, whom he wanted to expel from Florence. He was a major urban renovator, compared to Augustus in his day for his major building projects; like many popes, he utilized the renovations to celebrate the papacy and his own family name. While he was a patron of art and literature and employed the best artists of his day, like Botticelli and Ghirlandaio, he did not appear to be an enthusiastic art collector himself and sold pieces of the former pope’s collection as diplomatic gifts.

Blondin, Jill E. “Power Made Visible: Pope Sixtus IV as Urbis Restaurator in Quattrocento Rome.” The Catholic Historical Review 91, no. 1. (2005): 1-25.

Lee, Egmont. Sixtus IV and Men of Letters. Ed. di Storia a Letteratura, 1978.

Verstegen, Ian. Patronage and Dynasty: The Rise of the Della Rovere in Renaissance Italy. Truman State University Press, 2007.