Venice: Appresso Il [Giovanni Battista] Ciotti, 1621.
Folio: 30 x 21 cm.  pp. A-M2
Bound in 20th c. boards covered with a liturgical manuscript leaf. A fine, crisp copy with a little light marginal soiling; verso of final leaf also lightly soiled. Illustrated with 2 engraved title pages, a full-page portrait of Cosimo II, and 15 full-paged engraved plates. One of the engravings is signed by Francesco Valeggio (or Valesio) (sculp.) and Philipp Esengren (delineauit.) Watanabe-O’Kelly identifies the second engraver as Filippo Csegtenio [?].
A lavishly-illustrated funeral book describing the obsequies held in Venice for Cosimo II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1590-1621) and the elaborate décor created for the occasion. The opulent ceremonies were accompanied by music (now lost) by Monteverdi.
The ceremony took place on 25 May 1621 in the church of the Dominican Fathers S.S. Giovanni and Paolo and the decorative programme was entrusted to the architect-painter Matteo Ingoli (b. 1587, Ravenna – d. 1631, Venice, of the plague) who made use of the best Venice carvers and plasterers, all mentioned in the work.
The beautiful engravings illustrate the funeral ceremony, the interior of the church, the grand catafalque, and the sculptures, paintings and bas-reliefs specially made to celebrate the splendor of the Medici family and its special relationship with the Serenissima Republic. Thousands of candles illuminated the interior and flanked the high altar, giving off such great heat that, had the weather not been unseasonably cool, the crowd would have been very uncomfortable (p. 19)
Appended to the description of the funeral and the décor is the funeral oration by the Venetian poet and librettist Giulio Strozzi (1583 –1652), who also delivered the funeral oration for Ferdinando I (d. 1609) and composed sonnets for the visit of Ferdinando II and Giancarlo de’ Medici to Venice in 1628. Cicognara also attributes the descriptive text to Strozzi.
Cosimo II de’ Medici, elder son of Ferdinando I de’ Medici and Christina of Lorraine, was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1609 until his death in 1621. He is best remembered as the patron of Galileo, Cosimo’s childhood tutor, whom the Grand Duke named court mathematician in 1610. It was in that year that Galileo published his Sidereus Nuncius, announcing the discovery of four moons of Jupiter. He named these moons the “Medicean Stars” in honor of Cosimo and his brothers.
“The reign of Cosimo II (1590-1621), despite its brevity, was significant artistically, for he was a zealous collector of paintings in a style as yet unfamiliar to his subjects. The landscapes by Adam Elsheimer, which he imported, made a great impression on Italian artists, as did masterpieces by such Flemish artists as Gerrit van Honthorst, who specialized in candlelit nocturnal scenes. Cosimo also invited to his court such inventive artists as Jacques Callot an Filippo Napoletano.”(Knecht).
Watanabe-O'Kelly and Simon, Festivals and ceremonies, 1448; Vinet, Bibliographie ... des beaux-arts, 609; Ruggieri, Catalogue, 1873, no. 777; Cicognara, 1427; Graesse; VI, 512; Berlin Ornamentstichkat. 3021; Lipperheide, Katalog der Freiherrlich von Lipperheide'schen Kostümbibliothek, Si 19; Vinet 609