The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Clement VII (1523-1534)
Consistory of December 20, 1527 (IV)


(15) 1. CORNARO, seniore, Francesco (1478-1543)

Birth. 1478 (1), Venetian patrician. He was a member of the family's Cornaro della Regina branch in the S. Maurizio line. One of six sons of Giorgio Cornaro. Nephew of Queen Caterina Cornaro of Cyprus. Brother of Cardinal Marco Cornaro (1500). Uncle of Cardinal Andrea Cornaro (1544). Uncle of Cardinals Luigi Cornaro (1551); and Federico Cornaro, seniore, O.S.Io.Hieros (1585). Other members of the family promoted to the cardinalate were Francesco Cornaro, iuniore (1596); Federico Cornaro, iuniore (1626); Giorgio Cornaro (1697); and Giovanni Cornaro (1778). His last name is also listed as Corner; and as Cornelio.

Education. Since in his youth he dedicated himself to military activities, he studied Latin and letters at a much later time.

Early life. Procurator de Ultra, March 29, 1522. Participated in several military campaigns including the defense of the city of Padua that was under siege. Traveled to Palestine to visit the Holy Land. Served the Republic of Venice in several magistratures and embassies. Also served Charles of Hapsburg, first as king of Spain and later as Holy Roman Emperor. He had two illegitimate sons; one of them, Marco, succeeded him as abbot commendatario of Vidor. Later, after the death of his brother Cardinal Marco, he entered the ecclesiastical state and received the clerical tonsure in Rome.

Sacred orders. (No information found).

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of December 20, 1527; received the red hat and the title of S. Pancrazio, April 27, 1528. Archpriest of the patriarchal Vatican basilica.

Episcopate. Named administrator of the see of Brescia, March 1531; resigned the administration in favor of his nephew Andrea Cornaro, March 13, 1532. Consecrated, Thursday December 21, 1531, Sistine Chapel, Rome, by Pope Clement VII, assisted by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, seniore, bishop of Ostia, by Cardinal Antonio Ciocchi del Monte, bishop of Porto, and by Cardinal Andrea della Valle. In the same ceremony were also consecrated Cardinals Francisco de los Ángeles Quiñones, Antonio Sanseverino, O.S.Io.Hieros., and Giovanni Domenico de Cupis. Opted for the title of S. Cecilia, April 27, 1534. Opted for the title of S. Ciriaco alle Terme, September 5, 1534. Participated in the conclave of 1534, which elected Pope Paul III. Opted for the title of S. Prassede, May 31, 1535. Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals, January 1, 1536 to January 15, 1537. Opted for the title of S. Maria in Trastevere, March 23, 1541. Opted for the order of bishops and the suburbicarian see of Albano, November 14, 1541. Opted for the suburbicarian see of Palestrina, February 15, 1542. Abbot commendatario of Vidor. He was an important protagonist in the relations of Venice, the Holy See and the Holy Roman Empire. A nervous disorder affected him and he lost the use of his legs, having to be taken to the consistories in a stretcher.

Death. September 26, 1543, near 7 p.m., Viterbo. Transferred to Venice and buried in the church of S. Salvatore (2).

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1793, IV, 103-105; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1630, II, col. ; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1935; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, III, 20, and 140; Zedler, Johann Heinrich, and Carl Günther Ludovici. Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexicon aller Wissenschafften und Künste. 64 v. Graz, Adakemische Druck, 1961- . Reprint. Originially published : Halle : J. H. Zedler, 1732-50. Vols. 19-64 ed. by Carl Günther Ludovici, VI, 1298-1299.

Links. Biography, in English, Italian Culture and History, Boglewood Group; arms and biography, in Italian, Wikipedia; funeral monument of three Cornaro cardinals, left transept, church of S. Salvatore, Venice, Italian Culture and History, Boglewood Group; plan of the church of S. Salvador, Venice, Chiesa San Salvador, Venezia; another view of the funeral monument of Cardinals Marco, Francesco and Andrea Cornaro, Chiesa San Salvador, Venezia; his portrait, Sant'Angela e Sant'Orsola Centro Internazionale di Studi; his engraving, portraits and arms, Araldica Vaticana; his bust (1720), patriarchate of Venice, Beni Ecclesiastici in Web (BeWeb); his tombstone in the cathedral of Padua, secolo XVI (1590-1599), Beni Ecclesiastici in Web (BeWeb).

(1) This is according to Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa, IV, 104, who says that he died at 65 in 1543; his biography in English, linked above, says that he was born ca. 1476; Zedler, Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexicon aller Wissenschafften und Künste, VI, 1299, says that he died im 65 Jahre seines Älters, which means that he would have been born toward 1478-1479.
(2) This is the text on his tombstone, now in the cathedral of Padua, taken from Beni Ecclesiastici in Web (BeWeb), linked above:

FEDERICO CORNELIO
S.R.E. CARD.
EPIS. PATA.
ADVECTIS ROMA OSSIBUS
HAEREDES EX TESTAM. P.
VIXIT. ANN. LIX. M. III. D. XXI
OBIIT. MDXC. IV. N ON. OCT.

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