GUALTEROTTI, Raffaello. Feste nelle nozze Del Serenissimo Don Francesco Medici Gran duca di Toscana ; Et della Sereniss. Sua Consorte la Sig. Bianca Cappello…


The account of Francis I and Bianca Cappello’s wedding celebrated in Florence in 1579 sumptuously illustrated by Raffaello Gualterotti.
First edition of this festival book.

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Firenze, Stamperia de’ Giunti, 1579.

Small 4 [218 x 150 mm] of 58 pp., (1) l. of table, 24 pp., 16 engravings out of pagination numbered A to P of which 4 are folding. Title in an architectural frame decorated with putti and grotesques. Tear on the engraving G formerly restored, former restoration in the upper corner of p. 3 of the Vaghezze. Green morocco, triple gilt fillet around the covers, spine ribbed and finely decorated, gilt inner border, gilt over marbled edges. Binding signed Chambolle-Duru.

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First edition of this festival book recounting in detail the sumptuous celebrations organized in Florence on the occasion of the crowning and the wedding of Bianca Cappello with the duke Francis I de’ Medici on October 12th 1579.

Adams G1355; Brunet, II, 1772 who mentions 15 plates only; Cicognara, I, 1388; Lipperheide, II, 2740; Mortimer, Italian, I, 224; Vinet, I, 605, who counts only 15 plates; Fairfax Murray, Libri Italiani, 830; Harvard, Italian, 223.

Bianca Capello was crowned in the metropolitan church of Florence on October 12th 1579. The architects of the time vied with each other for the decorations of the festivities and the celebration of the wedding was the first occasion where were gathered such a large number of singers and music players. They were coming from all around Italy, and even from the emperor’s court.”

Duke Francesco de’ Medici and Bianca Cappello’s marriage in 1578 was celebrated with great pomp partially intended to help establish her in Florentine society. This festival book records the many celebrations organized, including an elaborate pageant in the courtyard of the Pitti palace, where wildly extravagant tableaux were performed. The entire event was said to have cost 300,000 ducats. » (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Besides the decorated title with the architectural frame decorated with putti and grotesques, the illustration is composed of 16 etchings by Accursio Baldi and Bastiano Marsili after Gualterotti’s drawings representing the course of the show with the historical procession, the tournament, the court of the Palazzo Pitti, the sumptuously decorated chariots, the costumed actors…

The judges of the festivities gave the first price to Marittima Pompa (plate N).

A fine and precious copy of this rare Italian sumptuously illustrated festival book, preserved in its green morocco binding signed by Chambolle-Duru.

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