Dovizi, Bernard

, better known by the name of Bernard of Bibiena, an eminent cardinal, was born of a reputable family at Bibiena in 1470, and was sent at nine years of age to pursue his studies at Florence. His family connexions introduced him into the house of the Medici, and such was the assiduity with which he availed himself of the opportunities of instruction there afforded him, that at the age of seventeen, he had attained a great facility of Latin composition, and was soon afterwards selected by Lorenzo de Medici, as one of his private secretaries. He was also the principal director of the studies of John de Medici, afterwards Leo X. and when the honours of the church were bestowed on his pupil, the principal care of his pecuniary concerns was intrusted to Dovizi; in the execution of which he rendered his patron such important services, and conducted himself with so much vigilance and integrity, that some have not hesitated to ascribe to him, in a considerable degree, the future eminence of his pupil, who, when made pope, gave his tutor a cardinal’s cap. He also employed himself in several negociations. He sent him as legate to the army raised against the duke of Urbino; and also to the emperor Maximilian. In 1518 he was sent as legate to France to persuade the king to join in the crusade against the Turks, | in which he would have succeeded, had not the pope discouraged the enterprize by his unreasonable distrust and caballing against France. Bibiena remonstrated against this conduct with great freedom in his letters to Rome, which is supposed to have hastened his death in Nov. 1520. Some have asserted that he was poisoned by the order or contrivance of Leo X. which is positively denied by the historian of that pontiff, as utterly destitute of proof.

Bibiena, although an ecclesiastic, partook of the licentious character of the papal court and times to which he belonged, but was a friend to literature, and a patron of the arts. In his temper and manners he was affable, and even facetious, as appears by the representation of him in Castiglione’s “Courtier,” in which he is introduced as one of the interlocutors. Of his turn for literature, he gave a sufficient proof in his celebrated comedy “La Calandria,” which, although not, as some have asserted, the earliest comedy which modern times have produced, deservedly obtained great reputation for its author, and merits, even at this day, no small share of approbation. It was first printed at Siena in 1521, afterwards at Rome, 1524, Venice, 1552 and 1562, and at Florence in 1558. 1


Tiraboschi. Roscoe’s Leo. —Moreri in Bernard.