Modena: per Bartolomeo Soliani, 1711.
Folio: 33.5 x 22 cm.  p. Collation: A-E6 With a large added folding plate (measuring 84 x 60 cm.)
Bound in contemporary carta rustica (soiled, worn at extremities). A large, crisp, copy with minor blemishes (title lightly soiled and with small worm trace in blank upper margin, occ. light foxing to upper blank margin of a few leaves, final leaf verso with light stains.) The very large plate, composed of two sheets, is in fine condition, with light paste discoloration where the two sheets are joined. Extremely rare. Only 2 copies in North America (Getty, SMU.) 3 copies in ICCU.
The funeral ceremonies for Charlotte Félicité of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1671-1710), wife of Rinaldo d'Este, Duke of Modena and Reggio, and daughter of Johann Friedrich, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. The large folding plate showing the catafalque was engraved by the Modenese artist Natale dal Re after the design by the Venetian architect Tommaso Bezzi (d. 1729), who had been in Duke Rinaldo’s employ since 1700. His works include an Ecce Homo for Modena Cathedral and St Francis of Paola for the chapel of the Counts of Bonasi.
On September 29, 1710, the Duchess died in childbirth at the age of thirty-nine. On April 28, 1711, her bereaved husband Rinaldo held a solemn state funeral for his bride. The ceremony was held in the church of the Sant’Agostino. Sumptuous decorations were erected on the theme of virtue triumphing over time and death. The enormous catafalque, designed by the ducal architect Tommaso Bezzi, also recalled the Germanic origins of the princess with various inscriptions.
The text describes the ceremony, the artworks, the catafalque, and explains the intricate symbolism of the artistic program.
On the church façade, above the portal, were three allegorical statutes, Virtue, flanked by Death and Time, each accompanied by friezes. The author guides us inside, pausing to remark that his description of the individual elements of the grand décor will fail to inspire the awe that one felt when viewing the unified whole. The silver lamps hanging between the columns and pilasters, the black drapes that covered the walls, the statues and friezes, the golden candelabra, death’s heads, columns painted to imitate marble with their faux gold capitals, statues, shields blazoned with arms, and at the heart of this opulence, the enormous catafalque.
The final gatherings contain the funeral sermon by the Jesuit Pierfilippo Mazzarosa (1674-1743).
Berlin Katalog 3240. Not in Ruggieri, Vinet, Lipperheide, Cicognara.