By Samantha Hughes-Johnson.

On this day (23 December) in 1479, Bernardo Bandini Baroncelli, one of the assassins involved in the Pazzi Conspiracy (a plot to murder Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici) was captured in Constantinople. 

Baroncelli, whom it is said delivered the first stab would to Giuliano, had been at large since Easter Sunday, 1478, having escaped to the gateway of the East via Naples. When discovered in Constantinople, Baroncelli was returned to Florence by the Sultan and within five days, was executed for the “most bloody murder” of Giuliano de’ Medici, which was considered by the Florentine magistracy of the Otto di Guardia e Balia,  “abominable sacrilege and infamous treason.”

The sketch (above), which was made by Leonardo da Vinci on the day of the hanging (28 December 1479) shows Bernardo Bandini Baroncelli, suspended from a window of the Palagio del Capitano, still dressed in the clothes in which he had been captured. Leonardo notes the following details:

A tan-coloured small cap, a doublet of black serge, a black jerkin lined a blue coat lined, with fur of foxes’ breasts, and the collar of the jerkin covered with black and white stippled velvet Bernardo di Bandino Baroncelli; black hose.

Image: Leonardo da VInci, Bernardo Bandini Baroncelli Shown Hanged, 1479, pen and ink, 19.2 x 7.3 cm, Musee Bonnat, Bayonne.

References: Luca Landucci, A Florentine Diary from 1450 – 1516 by Luca Landucci Continued by an Anonymous Writer ‘Til 1542 with Notes by Iodoco del Badia. Trans. Alice de Rosen Jervis, London: J. M Dent and Sons, 1927. 

Lauro Martines, April Blood: Florence and the Plot against the Medici, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. 

Patricia Lee Rubin, Images and Identity in Fifteenth-Century Florence, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007. 

Marcello Simonetta, The Montefeltro Conspiracy: A Renaissance Mystery Decoded, New York: Doubleday, 2008. 

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