, a merchant at Rome, and a patron of literature and the arts, was
, a merchant at Rome, and a patron of literature and the arts, was a native of Siena, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, who having frequent occasion, in his mercantile concerns, to resort to Rome, at length fixed his abode there, and erected for himself a splendid mansion in the Transtevere, which he decorated with works in painting and sculpture by the greatest artists of the time. He had long been considered as the wealthiest merchant in Italy; and on the expedition of Charles VIII. against the kingdom of Naples, had advanced for the use of that monarch a considerable sum of money, which it is thought he never recovered,* His wealth he employed in encouraging painting, sculpture, and every branch of the fine arts, and likewise devoted himself to the restoration of ancient learning. Among the learned men whom he distinguished by his particular favour, was Cornelio Benigno of Viterbo, who united to a sound critical judgment an intimate acquaintance with the Greek tongue, and had before joined with a few other eminent scholars in revising and correcting the geographical work of PtolomsEUs, which was published at Rome in 1507. Under the patronage of Chisi, Cornelio produced at Zaccaria Calliergo’s press, the fine edition of the works of Pindar, 1515, 4to, the first Greek book printed at Rome; and from the same press issued the correct edition of the Idyilia and Epigrams of Theocritus, 1516. It is said that it was not only in his patronage of letters and of the arts that Chisi emulated the Roman pontiffs, but vied with them also in the luxury of his table, and the costly and ostentatious extravagance of his feasts. His death is said to have occurred in 1520. After this event, his family were driven from Rome by Paul III. who seized upon their mansion in the Transtevere, and converted it into a sort of appendage to the Farnese palace, whence it has since been called the Farnesina. But in the ensuing century, the family of Chisi, or Chigi, rose to pontifical honours in the person of Alexander VII. Fabio Chigi who established it in great! credit, without, however, restoring to it the family mansion, which has descended with the possessions of the Farnese to the king of Naples, to whom it now belongs.