Furietti, Joseph Alexander

, an Italian cardinal and antiquary, the descendant of a noble family of Bergamo, was born there in 1685, He studied at Milan and Pavja, and made considerable progress in the knowledge of the civil and canon law. He went afterwards to Rome, where he held several ecclesiastical preferments, and in each was admired as much for his integrity as knowledge. Benedict XIV. who well knew his merit, was yet averse to raising him to the purple, on account of some disputes between them which took place in 1750. Yet it is said that Furietti might have received this high honour at that time, if he would have parted with his two superb centaurs, of Egyptian marble, which he found in 1736 among the ruins of the ancient town of Adrian in Tivoli, and which the pope very much wanted to place in the museum Capitolinum. Furietti, however, did not ehuse to give them up, and assigned as a reason: “I can, if I please, be honoured with the purple, but I know the court of Rome, and I do not wish to be called cardinal Centaur /” In 1759, however, Clement XIII. a year after his accession to the papal dignity, sent the cardinal’s hat to him, which he did not long enjoy, dying in 1764.

Furietti collected and published at Rome the works of the celebrated Caspar Barziza of Bergamo, and of his son | Guiniforte, most of which were never before printed, in a handsome 4to vol. 1723, with a learned preface and life. He published, likewise, at Bergamo in 1752, a fine edition of the poems of Fontana; but what obtained him most reputation among scholars and antiquaries, was his treatise on the Mosaic art of painting, entitled “De Musivis, vel pictoriae Mosaicse artis origine, progressu, &c.Home, 1752, 4to. In this he describes a rare specimen of Mosaic which he discovered in 1737 in the ruins of Adrian, and which, according to him, is mentioned by Pliny, as being the work of the celebrated artist Sosius. This exquisite specimen, with the centaurs belonging to Furietti, was purchased after his death by pope Clement XIII. for 14,000 Roman crowns, and deposited in the museum. 1