Catholic Church. Pope (1623-1644: Urban VIII)
Acquired through the Kenyon Law Starling Starling Fund.
Single sheet ; folio
A plenary indulgence (in Catholic doctrine, an indulgence which remits the entire temporal punishment resulting from a sin so that no further expiation is required in Purgatory) issued by Pope Urban (Maffeo Barberini, 1568-1644) in 1633. The recipient’s name is inked in; the indulgence is signed and authorized by Antonio de Sotomayor (d. 1648), Royal Confessor and Archbishop of Damascus. Single sheet, with papal woodcuts and the woodcut seal of Sotomayor. Pope Urban VIII was the last pope to practice nepotism on a grand scale, and many of his relatives benefited from his generosity. He canonized Elizabeth of Portugal and Andrew Corsini and issued the papal bull of canonization for both Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier, both of whom had been canonized by Urban’s predecessor, Gregory XV. Urban VIII patronized art and learning on a large scale, bringing the polymath Athanasius Kircher to Rome, along with such painters as Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain. Despite a friendship with Galileo and encouragement for his teachings, Urban summoned Galileo to Rome in 1632 to answer questions concerning the doctrines expounded in Galileo’s Dialogo, which had been published that same year in Florence, and which would result in a sentence of imprisonment for the rest of Galileo’s life.