Cardinal Federico Cornaro (G-6)

Born: 9 June 1531

Died: 4 October 1590, Rome

CARDINAL FEDERICO CORNARO, son of Cav. Proc. Giovanni Cornaro (B-63/G-1), was a member of the family's Cornaro della Regina branch in the S. Polo line. He began his ecclesiastical career by entering the military order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. He was named Grand Prior (Comendator) of Cyprus, when it was renounced in his favor by his older brother Cardinal Alvise Cornaro (G-2).

Federico was appointed Bishop of Trau in Dalmatia, Bishop of Bergamo (1561) and Archbishop of Padua (1577). While at Padua he authored Avvertimenti ai confessori della citta', et diocesi di Padova (Padua, 1579). He was elevated to Cardinal 18 December 1585. His biography is included in the Dizionario biografico degli Italiani [Biographical Dictionary of Italians] (Rome, 1983)

Federico commissioned the prominent architect Vincenzo Scamozzi to design a palace for the empty tract that Federico's family owned on the Grand Canal in the S. Maurizio Parish immediately adjacent to the family's imposing Ca' Cornaro della Ca' Granda. The palace was never constructed and the parcel remains vacant even today. The plan for the palace, however, is preserved in Scamozzi's influential book L'Idea della Architettura Universale [The Idea of Universal Architecture] (Venice, 1615).

The funeral monument in the Church of S. Silvestro, Rome, was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIV (Niccolò Sfondrati) and sculpted by Melchiore Cremona and Muzio Quarta between January 1591 and its dedication in July 1597. The inscription, composed by Pope Gregory himself, reads:

Gregorius XIIII Pont Max
Federico Cornelio S R E Presb Card
Episcopo Patavino
Hoc Coniunctissimae Amicitiae Monumentum

His grand-nephews Cardinal Patriarch Federico Corner (G-17) and Bishop Marcantonio Corner (G-18) placed an inscription in his memory in the church between 1626-32. The Cardinal's body was later removed to the Cathedral at Padua.

In the period from 1500 to 1789 nine members of the Cornaro family served as Cardinal, for a combined total of 150 years of service.

1997, 2004 C. I. Gable