LEO X [Giovanni de' Medici] (1475-1521), Pope (1513). Letter signed by papal secretary Jacopo Sadoleto ('Ia sadoletus') to 'Dilectis filiis Protectoribus Comparar[um] Sancti Georgii Civitatis Janue' [Our beloved sons the protectors of the compera of San Giorgio of the City of Genoa], in Latin on vellum, Rome, 5 April 1521.
170 x 465mm, one membrane with heading and seven lines written in an elegant humanistic cancelleresca in the style developed by Ludovico degli Arrighi (minor soiling to folds, puncture touching two letters), signature, integral address panel, traces of seal.
The pope commends the bishop elect of Aleria (Corsica), Francesco Palavicini, to the favour of the Casa San Giorgio: 'Since therefore, most beloved sons, it is a virtuous work to attend the ministers of God with benign favour and to venerate them with words and deeds for the glory of the eternal King, we urge your devotion towards the same Francesco and the Church committed to his care'.
The Casa San Giorgio, founded in 1408, effectively administered the Genoese state at this period, collecting taxes and administering the public debt; its substantial holdings in Corsica would have made its support not unimportant to a new bishop. Jacopo Sadoleto (1477-1547), created bishop of Carpentras in 1517, and a cardinal in 1537, was a notable poet, orator, theologian and philosopher. As papal secretary he was a colleague of Pietro Bembo; the elaborate language of the present letter reflects the polished elegance of his Latin style.
The Medici pope Leo X was an ineffective opponent of the Reformation, but a generous promoter of the arts and sciences; he was the patron of Raphael. Scribes in the papal chancery at this period played a vital role in the development of the cancelleresca documentary script into a book hand. The most notable of these, Ludovico degli Arrighi, published his La Operina, 'one of the earliest and finest of published writing books' (Michelle P. Brown, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600, London, 1990), in the year after the present document.