Scarabelli, Orazio (fl. 1580-1600) - D’Alfani, Epifanio (fl. 1586-1615).
Festival prints relating to the wedding of the Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici to the Princess Christine de Lorraine. Siena, Filippo Suchielli, [after 1592].
An album with fifteen double-page etchings and engravings, each leaf approximately 315x418 mm, tipped onto stubs. Eighteenth-century écaille calf, covers within gilt triple-fillet border, at the centre of the upper cover the initials 'P. A.' and, below, 'PIATTI' stamped in gold. Smooth spine decorated with gilt floral tools, title printed in gold on morocco lettering-piece. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves; light-blue silk bookmark. Red edges. A very good copy, small loss of paper to plate , skilfully repaired; some occasional waterstaining and spotting throughout, mainly to the versos and margins.
Provenance: P. A.; Piatti (both lettered on the binding).
An extremely rare collection of these fine prints – all with wide margins – depicting the architectural ornamentation, scenic designs, and jousts relating to the event which mobilized, and combined the intellectual and artistic forces of Tuscany at the zenith of its prestige: the wedding of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando I de' Medici, to the French princess, Christine de Lorraine, which took place in 1589.
While the pair had already married in 1586, the marriage was not celebrated until Christine's arrival into Florence on 30 April 1589. The festivities required ten months of preparations, and lasted all throughout the month of May until 8 June 1589. They consisted of pageants, balls, games, cavalcades, processions, a naumachia or naval battle in the inner courtyard of Palazzo Pitti, and other performances – including a demonstrative soccer match in front of the Basilica di Santa Croce on 9 May – all glorifying the couple. Especially noteworthy are the so-called intermedi typical of the Florentine theatre tradition, i.e., short performances of songs, music, and dances inserted between the acts of the comedies being presented.
Owing to the magnificence of the events depicted, it may well be the only festival book to have received a monograph expressly devoted to it: James Saslow's The Medici Wedding of 1589.
While more common examples of these prints can be found loose as single sheets, this copy, like the most comprehensive surviving set (held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and including twenty-nine plates), is bound in a haphazard order featuring a more complete body of work that helps evoke something of the grandeur of these formidable proceedings. The Getty Museum similarly has a composite album, although theirs is lacking our plate , Stage setting, intermedio 4.
This comprehensive collection includes fifteen plates, as follows:
Plate : Sixth entry arch, Canto degli Antellesi (platemark 241x322 mm). Unsigned. [Getty no. 17; Saslow no. 6].
Plate : First entry arch, Porta al Prato (platemark 242x340 mm). Signed 'Oraz S.' in the lower right corner. [Getty no. 3; Saslow no. 1].
Plate : Second entry arch, Ponte alla Carraia (platemark 251x337 mm). Signed 'Oraz S.' in the lower right corner. [Getty no. 15; Saslow no. 2].
Plate : Fourth entry arch, Duomo facade (platemark 244x340 mm). Signed 'Oraz S.' in the lower right corner. [Getty no. 14; Saslow no. 4].
Plate : Seventh entry arch, Palazzo Vecchio facade (platemark 265x344 mm). Signed 'filippo suchielli for in Siena' in the lower right corner. [Getty no. 1; Saslow no. 7].
Plate : Fifth entry arch, Canto de' Bischeri (platemark 246x338 mm). Signed 'Oraz S.' in the lower right corner. [Getty no. 2; Saslow no. 5].
Plate : Third entry arch, canto dei Carnesecchi (plate mark 247x337 mm). Signed 'Oraz S.' in the lower right corner. [Getty no. 18; Saslow no. 3].
Plate : Naumachia, Pitti courtyard (platemark 245x350 mm). Signed 'Oraz S.' in the lower right corner; in the middle of the upper margin 'filippo suchielli for Siena'. [Getty no. 6; Saslow no. 87].
Plate : Pitti Palace courtyard equipped for foot-combat (platemark 234x324 mm). Unsigned. [Getty no. 5; Saslow no. 71].
Plate : Stage perspective (platemark 234x342 mm). Signed 'Orazio Schari. Fiorentino' in the lower right corner. [Getty no. 4; Saslow no. 68].
Plate : Joust in Piazza Santa Croce (platemark 241x337 mm). Signed 'Orazio Sccarabelli Fior. no. Fec' in the lower right corner; at the lower left margin 'filippo suchielli for Siena'. [Getty no. 12; Saslow no. 70].
Plate : Stage setting, intermedio 4 (platemark 257x359 mm). Signed on chariot wheel 'D. Epiphanio. d. Alf. M. Vall. Incid.'; at the lower left corner 'filippo suchielli for Siena'. Lacking from Getty Album; [Saslow no. 52].
Plate : Chariot procession of Neptune (platemark 246x335 mm). Signed 'D. Epiph. fec.' in the lower right corner; at the lower left corner 'filippo suchielli for Siena'. [Getty no. 9; Saslow no. 88].
Plate : Stage design, Intermedio 2 (platemark 243x336 mm). Signed and dated 'D. Epif:o d'Alfiano Mon:co Vallombrosano f. 1592' in the lower right corner. At the centre of the lower margin 'filippo suchielli for Siena'. [Getty no. 11; Saslow no. 27].
Plate : Stage scene, Intermedio 5 (platemark 248x355 mm). Unsigned. At the lower left corner 'filippo suchielli for Siena'. [Getty no. 8; Saslow no. 55].
In the present album, plates nos. , , , , , - are in the second state, after being reworked by the printer and typographer Filippo Succhielli from Siena. Succhielli added his address to plate nos. , , -, and changed some details in plate  (adding the inscription 'principes Religione et Iustitia dii fivnt' and two coats of arms at the base of the external columns); in plate  by replacing the Medici-Lorena coat of arms; in plate  by replacing the Medici-Lorena coat of arms; in plate  by adding a cardinal's coat of arms surmounting Apollo's head; in plate  by replacing the peacock emblem in the cartouche held by Amphitrite with the cardinal's arm which had previously appeared in plate . Saslow apparently only knows of variants for this plate (in “three states”), ignoring the reworkings found on other plates listed above.
J. M. Saslow, The Medici Wedding of 1589: Florentine Festival as Theatrum Mundi, New Haven, CT 1996; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 171.