Storia dell’arte  Nuova Serie 2 | Luglio – Dicembre 2020
La galleria delle meraviglie e il mercato artistico al tempo di Francesco II d’Este
The Estense collection of mirabilia, partly from the Ferrarese collections of Alfonso II, was greatly enlarged by Francesco II d’Este (1660-1694) in the second half of the seventeenth century, before its gradual dispersion. The contribution, resting upon extensive and unpublished documentation, reconstructs the history of the many purchases promoted by the Duke and at the same time his fascination with collectible items, almost entirely ignored by artistic historiography and considered of minor interest, not least because it features mostly bizarre objects assembled for his cabinet. Among the many mirabilia, housed in the gallery founded by the Duke, and whose origins, attributions and dates are specified in some cases, the essay sheds light on the art markets of that time, especially the Bolognese and the Venetian ones. If on the one hand Francesco II’s lack of interest in painting emerges, perhaps even more strongly, on the other hand the evidence for his constant expenditure on curiosities of the natural world or luxury artificialia renders possible a genuine rediscovery of his artistic patronage.