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Carlo Enrico di San Martino

(Ivrea (?) – 1726 Rome)

Count Carlo Enrico di San Martino, the author of this enigmatic and fascinating little portrait, came from a noble Piedmont family and was a descendent of Margrave Arduin of Ivrea, who became King of Italy after the death of Otto II in 1002. While still a youth San Martino went to Rome, where he served in the Papal Guard, whose commander he became under Pope Alexander VIII (1689–1691) and Pope Innocent XII (1691–1700). He was then appointed to the command of the papal troops in the Romagna. During this period San Martino was also active as a writer, composing mainly poetry. He was admitted to the Accademia dell’Arcadia, which had been founded in Rome in 1690, and maintained close friendly relations with its custodian, the historian and man of letters Giovanni Mario Crescimbeni (1663–1728). Numerous poems by San Martino appeared from 1700 onwards in Rome and Venice under his academic pseudonym of Luciano Cinureo.