(b Rome, 11 Aug 1530; d Parma, 28 Oct 1565). Son of Pier Luigi Farnese. Like his elder brother, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, he entered the Church at an early age and was made Prior of the Knights of Malta and Archbishop of Naples before becoming a cardinal in 1545. The magnificence of Alessandro’s artistic patronage has somewhat overshadowed the achievements of the short-lived Ranuccio. Their patronage was, moreover, intertwined since they frequently commissioned work from the same artists, and after Ranuccio’s death Alessandro took over several of his ecclesiastical commissions.