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Odoardo Farnese (6 December 1573 - 21 February 1626) was the second son of Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma and Maria of Portugal and known for his patronage of the arts. He became a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in Italy in 1591, and briefly acted as regent of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza for his nephew Odoardo from 1622 to 1626.

Portrait by Annibale Caracci

Cardinal Odoardo is probably best known today for commissioning the Bolognese artist Annibale Carracci to fresco the Camerino in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. Annibale undertook this from 1595 to 1597, just prior to starting his decoration of the more famous and elaborate Farnese Gallery in the same palace.

The Camerino was Odoardo's private study. The subject of the central scene in the ceiling is 'The Choice of Hercules'. The scene is surrounded by a painted frame, an example of quadro riportato, which gives the illusion of a framed oil painting hung on the ceiling when in reality both the scene and its frame were frescoed. This quadro riportato device was brought to fruition by Annibale in the Farnese Gallery a few years later.

In addition, Odoardo commissioned various oil paintings from Annibale including his 'Rinaldo and Armida' now in the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. It was on the recommendation of Annibale that he commissioned Domenichino to fresco the Chapel of St Nilo in the abbey at Grottaferrata[1]

His patronage of architecture was less extensive but included the Casa Professa, the Jesuit house adjacent to the church of the Gesù in Rome, by the architect Girolamo Rainaldi.[2]


16. Pope Paul III
8. Pier Luigi Farnese, Duke of Parma
17. Silvia Ruffini
4. Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma
18. Luigi Orsini
9. Girolama Orsini
19. Giulia Conti
2. Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma
20. Philip I of Castile
10. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
21. Joanna of Castile
5. Margaret of Austria
22. Gilles Johann van der Gheynst
11. Johanna Maria van der Gheynst
23. Johanna van der Caye van Cocambi
1. Cardinal Odoardo Farnese
24. Infante Fernando, Duke of Viseu
12. Manuel I of Portugal
25. Infanta Beatrice of Portugal
6. Infante Duarte, Duke of Guimarães
26. Ferdinand II of Aragon
13. Maria of Aragon and Castile
27. Isabella I of Castile
3. Infanta Maria of Guimarães
28. Fernando II, Duke of Braganza
14. James, Duke of Braganza
29. Infanta Isabella of Viseu
7. Isabel of Braganza
30. Juan Alonso Pérez de Guzmán y Afán de Ribera, 3rd Duke of Medina Sidonia
15. Eleonor of Mendoza
31. Isabel de Velasco or Leonor de Zúñ


  1. ^ Robertson, Clare. 'Odoardo Farnese', Oxford Art Online
  2. ^ Robertson, ibid

See also



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