Four hundred years after the assassination of Henry IV, on May 14, 1610 in Paris, the Soprintendenza of Florence with the Museo delle Cappelle Medicee, in conjunction with the Musée National du Château de Pau, will celebrate the King of France and Navarre with a major exhibition. The fulcrum of the exhibition consists of the 19 monochrome canvases that Cosimo II de' Medici commissioned to Florentine academic painters to celebrate a funeral service for Henry IV with great pomp on September 16, 1610 in the Basilica of San Lorenzo. Having recently succeeded his father Ferdinando I to the throne, the new Grand Duke had an important funeral held in effigy for the "most Christian King". This decision was part of the consolidated practise that, as of the sixteenth century, saw the Medici family, rulers of Florence, show their political influence in Europe also with scenographic productions tied to the family events of the principal dynasties: births, weddings and deaths. The paintings were arranged along the walls of the church, entirely decked in mourning, but scenographically illuminated by a great number of candles, with elements evoking the King's triumphs and virtues, so as to perpetuate his glory beyond death. Executed by a till then little known pleiad of painters and artists who trained under Empoli, Curradi and Poccetti, the paintings had subjects dictated by historians and men of letters, and dealt with episodes in which the Medici had played an important role. The exhibition in the two venues is of great, though slightly differentiated importance, for intuitable reasons of communication. While the figure of Henry IV is very clear for Navarre, the same can not be said for Florence, where a didacticpresentazione will be necessary. A part of the exhibition will therefore be dedicated to the Medici and the family politics which saw Maria, granddaughter of Ferdinando I, marry Henry IV in 1600 and, following the assassination of the King, assume the regency of France for the dauphin. With the magnificence of the funeral ceremony celebrated in Florence, the Medici court emphasised the legitimacy of that regency and of the succession to the throne of Louis XIII. In addition to the paintings, the show will also present books, engravings and drawings for the celebration, the Medici family tree, medals of the principal figures tied to the episode, wedding documents, precious portraits of the King and Queen in painting and sculpture, and a magnificent drawing by Pieter Paul Rubens with Maria de' Medici Landing at Marseilles, executed as a model for the cycle in the Luxembourg Palace, which Maria commissioned the painter between 1622 and 1624. The installation by the technicians of the Soprintendenza and those of the Musée de Pau will be evocative and respectful of the characteristics of the two venues.
Museum of Medici Chapels 15.07.2010 - 02.11.2010
Website : Museum of Medici Chapels
Website : Firenze Turismo
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