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Il mondo festeggiante: balletto a cavallo, fatto nel teatro congiunto al palazzo del sereniss. gran duca, per le reali nozze de' serenissimi principi Cosimo Terzo di Toscana, e Margherita Luisa d'Orleans
Firenze: Nella Stamperia di S.A.S., 1661. Firenze: Nella Stamperia di S.A.S., 1661. (Carducci, Allessandro). Il mondo festeggiante: balletto a cavallo, fatto nel teatro congiunto al palazzo del sereniss. gran duca, per le reali nozze de' serenissimi principi Cosimo Terzo di Toscana, e Margherita Luisa d'Orleans. Firenze: Nella Stamperia di S.A.S., 1661. Quarto. Contemporary Italian vellum, gilt (identical with other copies). 66pp., [3] folded leaves of plates. Text beginning on p. 7 as usual. One corner of binding chipped, some old tape reinforcement along fold of one plate. Marchetti 84; Moremi I 217; Ruggiere 503. A fine copy. Il mondo festeggiante (The Rejoicing World) describes the greatest of all Medici marriage festival entries and equestrian ballets, which was composed and performed in honor of the marriage of Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, with Margherita Luisa d'Orleans. The elaborate, all-day performance took place in the amphitheater of the Boboli Gardens on July 1, 1661. Alessandro Carducci, the court choreographer, is credited with having conceived this event, which was directed by Alessandro Visconti. Ferdinando Tacca designed the scenography and Domenico Anglesi composed the music. The festival book Il mondo festeggiante was printed before the event in a fine deluxe edition for an elite audience of peers. The book contains a prose description of the equestrian ballet interspersed with Giovanni Andrea Moniglia's verses for the songs. The narration is illustrated with three folded etchings by Stefano Della Bella (1610-1642), the court artist. While the immediate function of this publication was to act as a guide to the action, the ultimate purpose for this and other festival publications of the courts of Europe was to broadcast and perpetuate for all times the festivities that celebrated important political affairs such as coronations, marriages, births, official entries and state visits, and other occasions of state. The three splendid Della Bella etchings are some of the most arresting of all festival imagery. The first pictures a backdrop constructed for the huge half-oval behind the palace with a circle of obelisks placed at the center. Groups of decorated coaches are surrounded by foot soldiers and a circle of riders. Atlas with the heavens on his shoulders is most visible in the center of the etchings, having come to tell those on earth that Hercules, along with the sun god Apollo and the goddess of the moon Diana, have descended from heaven to attend these nuptials. The second etching pictures Atlas and his globe (now split apart) transformed into Mount Atlas after he has announced his reason for coming to Florence. The final etching shows the positions and notations of choreography for the twelve figures of the elaborate equestrian ballet, which concluded the evening. The baroque festival entry followed by an elaborate horse ballet was an outgrowth of the medieval tournament and the even older "semi-choreographic form known to the Greek and Romans" (Reade). As Strong writes, "with the advent of the Medici as dukes, the tournament became a norm of festival art, and an ideal vehicle whereby to express the new order of things." Whereas the medieval tournament was essentially a training exercise, much like the modern military full-dress parade, the baroque triumphal procession and equestrian ballet became an allegorical and symbolic attempt to create a link between the rulers of state and the ancient gods, one in which princes, dukes, and monarchs were invited to ride on horseback or in ornate carriages, and in which themes were created of the intervention of Greek gods in order to create a cosmic harmony on earth. There seems to be a strong connection between the form of the early ballet du cour and the 17th century equestrian ballet. It is worth noting that they were both staged for the same essential purpose: to demonstrate State power and prestige. Both ballet and equestrian ballet, moreover, were arranged and decorated with the same allegorical concepts in mind: the arrival of ancient gods descending to earth in order to create a celestial harmony by crowning the heads of the temporal world. Carducci was referred to as "the inventor of the ballet and the battle" (Clarke and Crisp). He was undoubtedly the master of this form in the 17th century and used the model of Il Mondo Festeggiante for the even more elaborate Viennese horse ballets, particularly the famous La Contesa dell'Aria e dell'Acque (1667). References: Clarke and Crisp, Design for Ballet; De Vesme, Della Bella, 70-72; Fabbri, et. al., Il luogo teatrale a Firenze (1975) 11.10 11.18; Reade, Ballet Design; Sartori, Libretti Italiani, 15890; Sonneck, O.G.T. Librettos, 446 447; Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Katalog der Ornamentstichsammlung, 3049; Strong, Art and Power. Provenance: E.P. Goldschmidt; Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow.
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Last Found On: 2014-05-02           Check availability:      Biblio    

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