The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Clement XII (1730-1740)
Consistory of August 14, 1730 (I)
Celebrated in Rome

(1) 1. CORSINI, Neri Maria (1685-1770)

Birth. May 19, 1685, Florence. Of an ancient and noble family. Second of the two sons of Filippo Corsini and Lucrezia Rinuccini. His first name is also listed as Nereo; and as Nero. Nephew of Pope Clement XII. Grand-nephew of Cardinal Neri Corsini (1664). Grand-uncle of Cardinal Andrea Corsini (1759).

Education. (No information found).

Early life. He traveled throughout Europe extensively: Paris in 1709; The Hague in 1710; London and Germany in 1711; and Vienna in 1712-1713. After a stay in Rome with his uncle the cardinal, he went as ambassador of the grand-duke of Tuscany to Paris in May 1716; and later to London in March 1718); and finally, as plenipotentiary minister to the Congress of Cambrai in 1720. After the death of the grand-duke in 1723, he went to Rome. He returned to Florence in 1725; and went back to Rome in 1726, where he remained as secretary to his uncle until the latter's election to the pontifmcate in 1730. Induced by his friends, among them Cardinal Gianantonio Davia, he decided to enter the ecclesiastical state. Received the insignias of the clerical character, July 23, 1730, and was appointed secretary of Memorials and referendary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, protonotary apostolic and secretary of Memoriali.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal and reserved in pectore in the consistory of August 14, 1730; published in the consistory of December 11, 1730; received the red hat and the deaconry of S. Adriano, January 8, 1731. Donated to the Holy See the library of the Agonal Palace, Rome, where his uncle lived before being elected to the papacy. He opened his own library to the public. Abbot commendatario of Madignano, diocese of Crema, 1732. Protector of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) and vice-protector of the Order of the Servants of Mary (Servites), 1732.

Priesthood. Ordained, 1733. Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, March 2, 1733. Opted for the deaconry of S. Eustachio, May 6, 1737; he built a sumptuous altar, in which, on September 19, 1739, after a procession with the members of the Sacred College of Cardinals, the Roman Senate and the Roman prelature, the remains of S. Eustachio and his martyr companions, were placed in an urn. Together with Cardinals Marcello Passari and Antonio Saverio Gentili, he was asked by the pope to try to end the dispute between the royal court of Portugal and the Holy See over the provision of bishops for that kingdom and establish a concordat; the mission was successful and the concordat was signed in the library of the convent of Aracoeli, Rome; for future memory, Father Giuseppe Maria di Evora, later plenipotentiary minister of Portugal in Rome, had a portrait, which is still in that library, painted; in the portrait appear the three cardinals and Father Evora. Named protector of the kingdom of Ireland, May 17, 1737. The cardinal also refurbished the church of S. Isidoro, of the Franciscans Observant. He was also protector of the kingdom of Portugal, 1739. Participated in the conclave of 1740, which elected Pope Benedict XIV. Archpriest of the patriarchal Lateran basilica, Rome, August 1740. Secretary of the Supreme S.C. of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, February 26, 1753 until his death. Legate a latere for the opening of the Holy Door of the Jubilar Year at the patriarchal Lateran basilica, December 1, 1749; for its closing, December 7, 1750. Participated in the conclave of 1758, which elected Pope Clement XIII. Participated in the conclave of 1769, which elected Pope Clement XIV.

Death. December 6, 1770, at 11;30 p.m., in his Roman palace near Longara. Exposed in the basilica of Ss. XII Apostoli; and buried in the Orsini chapel, in the patriarchal Lateran basilica, Rome; over the door to the sacristy, on the left side of the altar of S. Andrea Corsini, his remains were placed in an urn of porphyry, topped by his statue; the urn has a brief inscription engraved in letters of metal (1).

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. 9 vols. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1794, VIII, ; 244-246; Notizie per l'anno MDCCLXXIII. In Roma MDCCLXXIII : Nella Stamperia Cracas, p. 127-128, no. 5; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen VI (1730-1799). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 5, 50 and 51.

Webgraphy. Biography by Marina Caffiero, in Italian, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 29 (1983), Treccani; his engraving by Girolamo Rossi, secolo XVIII (1730), regione ecclesiastica Triveneto, diocesi Trento, Beni Ecclesiastici in web (BeWeB); portrait of Pope Clement XIII and Cardinal Neri Corsini, by Pietro Paolo Cristofari, Getty Images; his portrait and prosopography, in German, Requiem Datenbank; his tomb, Requiem Datenbank; Corsini Chapel, patriarchal Lateran basilica, Rome,; La preziosa eredità del cardinale lungocrinito. Alla Galleria Corsini sulle opere raccolte da Neri Maria Corsini by Alberto Fraja, L'Osservatore Romano, 07 gennaio 2023.

(1) This is the text of the inscription, taken from Requiem Datenbank, linked above:


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