Brigida Spinola was born in 1583, daughter of Gaspare Spinola ( ?-1625 ) son of Gioffredo (1517- ?), descendant of the Doge Luca Spinola (1489-1579), 57° Doge of the Republic of Genoa, and of Maria Doria, daughter of Nicolò (1525-1592), 72° Doge of the Republic of Genoa.
Her first marriage was to her cousin Giacomo Massimiliano Doria (1571-1613) in July 1605. Rubens portrayed her in 1606, dressed in white, perhaps commemorating the event.
The relationship between the two was due to the fact that Giacomo Doria was the son of Eliana Spinola di Gioffredo, daughter of Gioffredo, the sister of Gaspare, father of Brigida and that Maria Doria was first cousin to Giacomo Massimiliano, last being respectively the children of the brothers Nicolò and Agostino Doria, both Doges of the Republic of Genoa.
In 1613 her husband died and she married again in August 1621 to Gio Vincenzo Imperiale (1582-1648), also widowed. Gio Vincenzo Imperiale (1582-1648) was the son of Gio Giacomo Imperiale(1554-1622), 92° Doge of the Republic of Genoa, and of Bianca Spinola (?-1624). The brothers of the mother of Brigida, Gio Batta and Gio Stefano, had respectively married Vittoria and Ottavia Spinola, sisters of Bianca and aunts of Gio Vincenzo Imperiale. Bianca, Ottavia and Vittoria were in turn sisters of the cardinale Orazio Spinola (1547-1616), to whom the nephew Gio Vincenzo was bound by deep affection.
The “Spinola branch” of Brigida Spinola and Cardinal Orazio had a common ascendant, in the person of Bactista Spinola Santi Luce (who had lived in the XV century), father of Doge Luca Spinola, of Francesco and Leonardo, grandfather of Cardinal Orazio.
A curiosity from the inventory on the death of Giacomo Massimiliano Doria
“… the inventory of Giacomo Massimiliano Doria in 1613 also lists the clothes of his wife Brigida Spinola…36 “robes”,2 ungaresques dresses, 2 chamisettes (”of white and turquoise velvet and of Argentinean cloth and silver”), 5 shawls, 2 petticoats, 1 corset, 3 capes, 1”pena d’armellini” (ermine fur) plus various pieces of linen……“. Marzia Cataldi Gallo “La moda a Genova nel primo quarto del Seicento” in Van Dyck in Genoa, 1997, Electa Editore.