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Courtiers and musicians meet in the streets: the Florentine mascherata under Cosimo I

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 November 2010

PHILIPPE CANGUILHEM*
Affiliation:
Université de Toulouse II – Le Mirail, 5 allées Antonio Machado, 31058 Toulouse Cedex 9, France

Abstract:

It is well known that the shift from canti carnascialeschi to mascherate, which took place in Florence during the first half of the sixteenth century, corresponds to parallel political changes from republic to duchy. The role of the new Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici in the transformation of Florentine street festivals must be appraised through his aim of establishing a courtly society in which the nobility were subjected to his control. In this article, this double process of change is observed through documents which show how the courtly mascherata can be viewed as a means by which courtiers sought to be identified as a homogeneous group by all Florentine citizens, looking at and listening to them from their windows.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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References

1 An overall view of Cosimo's achievement appears in Diaz, F., Il granducato di Toscana. I Medici (Turin, 1987), 66229Google Scholar. On the beginning of Cosimo's reign, see Spini, G., Cosimo I e l'indipendenza del Principato Mediceo (Florence, 1980)Google Scholar.

2 For a long-period perspective, see Najemy, J.M., A History of Florence 1200–1575 (Oxford, 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3 Angiolini, F., I cavalieri e il principe (Florence, 1996), 1045Google Scholar.

4 Both Chauvineau, H., ‘La cour des Médicis (1543–1737)’, in Boutier, J. et al. (eds.), Florence et la Toscane XIVe–XIXe siècles. Les dynamiques d'un État italien (Rennes, 2004), 287300CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Fantoni, M., La corte del granduca. Forme e simboli del potere mediceo fra Cinque e Seicento (Rome, 1994)Google Scholar, concentrate on the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Useful remarks are also in Casini, M., I gesti del principe (Venice, 1996), 237–41Google Scholar.

5 Much has been written on Cosimo's patronage in art and culture and its significance. The most recent study is by Van Veen, H. Th., Cosimo I de’ Medici and his Self-representation in Florentine Art and Culture (Cambridge, 2006)Google Scholar. For Cosimo's politics of festivals, see Plaisance, M., Florence in the Time of the Medici. Public Celebrations, Politics, and Literature in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (Toronto, 2008), especially ch. 1 and 5Google Scholar.

6 ‘sono tanti alieni da’ modi della corte, che io credo che pochi altri sieno tanto’, quoted in Casini, I gesti del principe, 238.

7 See Diaz, Il granducato di Toscana, 175–9.

8 Van Veen, Cosimo I de’ Medici, 10–16.

9 ‘Aveva pensato bene nello scrivere, osservare i tempi, mettendo i canti per ordine d'anno in anno; ma non è stato possibile, per avergli trovati messi tutti alla rinfusa, e scritti senza cura, o diligenza alcuna’. Grazzini, A., Tutti i trionfi, carri, mascherate, o canti carnascialeschi andati per Firenze . . ., 2nd edn (n.p. [Lucca], 1750), xliGoogle Scholar. The English translation was supplied by Robert Nosow, who allowed me to consult his unpublished paper, ‘Madrigal and mascherata in mid-sixteenth-century Florence’, given in 2002 at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society in Columbus (Ohio).

10 On the canti carnascialeschi tradition and repertoire, see the recent study of Prizer, W., ‘Reading carnival: the creation of a Florentine carnival song’, Early Music History, 23 (2004), 185252CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and the bibliography mentioned.

11 On the Florentine companies at the beginning of the sixteenth century, see Cummings, A., The Maecenas and the Madrigalist. Patrons, Patronage, and the Origins of the Italian Madrigal (Philadelphia, 2004), 98152Google Scholar. On the Cicilia company, see Bramanti, V., ‘Il Lasca e la famiglia della Fonte (da alcune lettere inedite)’, Schede umanistiche, 10 (2004), 26–7Google Scholar. Pazzi's canti have been recently edited: Castellani, A., Nuovi canti carnascialeschi di Firenze: le ‘canzone’ e mascherate di Alfonso de’ Pazzi (Florence, 2006)Google Scholar.

12 First letter from Pietro Aretino Camaiani: ‘L'ill.mo Sig.r Duca hebbe hiersera la lettera di V.S. di hieri insieme con la canzona et musica dei mattacini, che gli ha sattisfatto et mi ha comandato che in nome suo gnene accusi la ricevuta.’ Florence, Archivio di Stato, Mediceo del Principato 1170 inserto 3, fol. 158. Second letter from Marzio Marzi: ‘ci può la S.V. R. mandar quella nuova musica perche’ co acozzeremo tutti li mon.ri et qualche grand'ocho che non degnavano li mattacini come quelli che son avezzi a cose grandi’. Ibid., fol. 160. The text of this canto is edited by Bruscagli, R., Trionfi e canti carnascialeschi toscani del Rinascimento (Rome, 1986), 298300Google Scholar.

13 Compare Corteccia's music, edited by D'Accone, F., Music of the Florentine Renaissance, vol. X (Neuhausen and Stuttgart, 1981), 7880Google Scholar, with canti by Bartolomeo degli Organi or Alessandro Coppini as they appear in Cummings, The Maecenas and the Madrigalist, 116–22.

14 Coppi, E. (ed.), Cronaca fiorentina 1537–1555 (Florence, 2000), 61Google Scholar: ‘la musica cominciava a quattro voci, poi a otto, poi a dodici et poi a quindici che fu musica et instrumenti’.

15 Corazzini, G.O., Diario fiorentino di Agostino Lapini dal 252 al 1596 (Florence, 1900), 151Google Scholar: ‘A’ di 21 detto febbraio il duca Cosimo mandò fuori ventuno trionfi . . . con vari suoni e voci . . . et io veddi ogni cosa e vi cantai.’

16 On the Canto di mostri innamorati, see Plaisance, M., ‘La politique culturelle de Côme 1er et les fêtes annuelles à Florence de 1541 à 1550’, in Jacquot, J. and Konigson, E. (eds.), Les fêtes de la Renaissance III (Paris, 1975), 138Google Scholar. On the canti between 1549 and 1552, see Coppi (ed.), Cronaca fiorentina, 96, 125–6 and 140. The last one is described by Angeli, U., Di una mascherata di cacciatori fatta in Firenze il 25 febbraio 1555. Descrizione epistolare di Ercole Bonaccioli ambasciatore ferrarese (Florence, 1898)Google Scholar.

17 ‘cosi come io non biasimo coloro che seguivano l'osanza, che correva in quel tempo; cosi lodo quegli altri, che da tanta bassezza hanno avuto ardimento di nobilitare questa cosa, e di ridurla a stato molto più onorevole, se ben alcuni in questa parte hanno per avventura troppo tirato l'arco’. Salviati, L., Prose inedite, ed. Manzoni, L. (Bologna, 1873; reprint 1968), 129Google Scholar. Many thanks to Alison Cornish for her translation.

18 Van Veen, Cosimo I de’ Medici, 10.

19 Ibid., 81.

20 See Plaisance, ‘La politique culturelle de Côme 1er, 146.

21 Florence Archivio di Stato, Guardaroba 101, passim.

22 ‘Ricordo come questo dì 31 gennaio la X.a [eccellentia] del duca Coximo de Medici mi fece intendere come lui voleva andassi in maschera nel presente carnovale a correre in su a cavalli drieto alle bufole con uno compagno in compagnia di Lione di Filippo de Nerli e di Giovanmaria di Alexandro Segni. Tolsi in mia compagnia Benedecto Machiavelli mio fratello . . . Andammo el giorno di carnaciale a tale mascherata in sulla piazza di Santa Croce . . . e fu tenuta tanto bella festa quanto altra che se ne fussi facta fino a quel tempo . . . e di poi la sera facemo a dare uno canto. . . . Costomi in mia parte la sopradetta mascherata scudi 150 d'oro di moneta.’ Florence, Biblioteca Marucelliana, MS A 229/10, fol. 206v. For a short description of Ristoro Macchiavelli's family, see the biographical entry on his son, also named Ristoro, by Arrighi, V., ‘Machiavelli, Ristoro’, Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. LXVII (Rome, 2006), 103–5Google Scholar.

23 Ciappelli, G., Carnevale e quaresima. Comportamenti sociali e cultura a Firenze nel Rinascimento (Rome, 1997), 142–6Google Scholar.

24 The 1555 Mascherata di cacciatori involved as many as 63 horses. See Angeli, Di una mascherata di cacciatori, 17.

25 ‘O Alfonso de’ Pazzi, tu sei morto!/Se tu dicesti: ‘I vostri immascherati/Batista, sien veduti e non intesi’/Che diresti or di questi canti andati/Mille volte più scuri e men compresi?/. . . E non s'intende il nome che gli è posto/Ché quei madrigaluzzi a i lor soggetti/Troppo stitiche sono e troppo gretti’. Grazzini, Antonfrancesco, Opere, ed. Bonino, G.D. (Turin, 1974), 399400Google Scholar. Thanks to Robert Nosow for his English translation. Pazzi's original sonnet is copied, among other places, in Florence, Bibilioteca Nacional Centrale, MS Pal. V. Capponi 134, p. 50, and in Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Capponi 85, p. 65.

26 Giovanbattista Strozzi's text for the Canto delle Furie, in Grazzini, Tutti i trionfi, 254.

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