Giovanni Maria

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GIOVANNI MARIA (c. 1470–c. 1530), Italian lute player, born in Germany. His original Jewish name is unknown and when, after settling in Florence, he was baptized, he took his new name in honor of Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici. He was still often referred to, however, as "Giovanni Maria, the Jew." In 1492 he was condemned to death for murder, but fled to Rome, where he entered the service of the Cardinal de' Medici. When the cardinal became Pope Leo x, Giovanni Maria was given the revenues of the township of Verrocchio, with the title of count. He subsequently entered the service of Pope Clement vii, the doge of Venice, and the dukes of Mantua and Urbino. A few of Giovanni Maria's own compositions were published and he is referred to with admiration in various literary works of the period. His son Camillo was also a musician in the papal service.


Pirro, in: Mélanges … H. Hauvette (1934); C. Roth, The Jews in the Renaissance (1959), 281–3; U. Cassuto, Gli Ebrei a Firenze nell' età del Rinascimento (1918), 192f.

[Cecil Roth]

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Giovanni Maria

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