The Bentvueghels, meaning literally 'birds of a feather', refers to a society of predominantly Dutch and Flemish artists, founded in Rome in ca. 1620 in solidarity against the Italians and formal organisations, but above all to oppose the fees demanded by the Accademia di San Luca. The society existed until around 1720 and had at least 480 members throughout this period.
Most Bentvueghels were painters, draughtsmen or engravers, although a few sculptors, goldsmiths and poets also joined. The ‘Schildersbent’ (painters' clique), as the group was also known, had no characteristic artistic style. Although quite a few of them painted Bambocciate, every current style and subject in paintings was represented.
Their meetings were interspersed with meals, drinking bouts and initiation ceremonies. A notorious ritual of the group was the inauguration of a new member. The initiate would be presented to a fake priest, a 'Veldpaap' ('field Pope'), and given a Bent name that referred to his personality. Many Bentvueghel meetings concluded in the small hours of the morning with a pilgrimage to the 'Tomb of Bacchus' in Santa Costanza. In two of the niches of this church, the members of the Bent wrote their signatures on the wall.
Most Bentvueghels lived in the parishes of Santa Maria del Popolo, Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, San Lorenzo in Lucina and Santa Lucia della Tinta, the areas known as the foreigners' and artists' quarter. The Via Paolina (now Via del Babuino), Via del Corso and Via Margutta were particularly popular with the Northerners. (SR)
List of the members of the Bentvueghels with their 'Bentname':