Rome show smashes myth Virgin model was Borgia pope lover

AP News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2017 1:18 PM

ROME (AP) — An exhibit in Rome aims to demolish what a former Vatican Museums director calls a "myth" that Renaissance painter Pintoricchio used Pope Alexander VI's lover, Giulia Farnese, as the model for a Madonna he depicted while decorating the pontiff's apartment.

The Capitoline Museums exhibit invites visitors to draw their own conclusion in part by comparing other Madonnas painted by Pintoricchio with surviving sections of the wall painting from the Borgia apartment, including the original Madonna, which hasn't been seen in public for centuries.

Francesco Buranelli, an exhibit curator who for 11 years directed the Vatican Museums which include the Borgia apartment, convinced a private collector to put the Madonna painting on display. He told journalists Thursday it's essentially "fake news" the Madonna was modeled on the lover.