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The Politicized Muse: Music for Medici Festivals, 1512-1537

The Politicized Muse: Music for Medici Festivals, 1512-1537

Anthony M . Cummings
Copyright Date: 1992
Pages: 280
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x0sdw
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    The Politicized Muse: Music for Medici Festivals, 1512-1537
    Book Description:

    During the years between the restoration of the Medici to Florence and the election of Cosimo I, the Medici family sponsored a series of splendid public festivals, reconstructed here by Anthony M. Cummings. Cummings has utilized unexpectedly rich sources of information about the musical life of the time in contemporary narrative accounts of these occasions-histories, diaries, and family memoirs. In this interdisciplinary work, he explains how the festivals combined music with art and literature to convey political meanings to Florentine observers. As analyzed by Cummings, the festivals document the political transformation of the city in the crucial era that witnessed the end of the Florentine republic and the beginnings of the Medici principate. This book will interest all students of the life and institutions of sixteenth-century Florence and of the Medici family. In addition, the author furnishes new evidence about the contexts for musical performances in early modern Europe. By describing such contexts, he ascertains much about how music was performed and how it sounded in this period of music history and shows that the modes of musical expression were more varied than is suggested by the relatively few surviving examples of actual pieces of music.

    Originally published in 1992.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7273-2
    Subjects: Music
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ILLUSTRATIONS (pp. ix-xii)
  4. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Partial Genealogy of the Medici Family (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. TO THE READER Concerning the Translations and Scholarly Apparatus (pp. xix-2)
  7. INTRODUCTION: SOME ASPECTS OF METHODOLOGY (pp. 3-8)

    On what kinds of civic occasions might Florentines of the early sixteenth century have heard music? And what kinds of music might they have heard? Some answers to such questions are to be found in a group of sources that Felix Gilbert called “narrative accounts,” and in a concise and authoritative statement of the historiographic assumptions then underlying Florentine Renaissance studies, he wrote of them as follows: “The principle of modem historical scholarship—that insofar as possible history should be based on documentary sources rather than on narrative accounts—has been only slowly and gradually applied to the history of...

  8. PART I. THE FIRST YEARS OF THE MEDICI RESTORATION:: THE UNION OF FLORENCE AND ROME
    • CHAPTER 1 THE RESTORATION (pp. 11-14)

      The republic of Florence was renewed in 1494, at the time of the French invasion of Italy. A number of disaffected Florentine aristocrats, resentful of Piero di Lorenzo de’ Medici’s autocratic behavior and jealous of the diplomatic prerogatives he violated when he negotiated directly with King Charles VIII, succeeded in bringing the Medici regime to an end; Piero was exiled and his family’s property confiscated and sold. He later died after several attempts to restore his family to Florence.¹

      Eighteen years later, the conditions of Italian political life had changed dramatically. Pope Julius II had expected that the renewed Florentine...

    • CHAPTER 2 THE 1513 CARNIVAL (pp. 15-41)

      The first important festive occasion that the restored regime organized and that involved musical performances was the 1513 Carnival. “A year that brought a change of government or a new Pope was a good one for . . . young artists,” John Shearman has written;¹ in 1513, the Medici were anxious to demonstrate that their restoration promised considerable benefits, and in an attempt to ensure the Carnival’s artistic success they solicited the participation of some of the city’s most prominent artists and literati. Two companies assumed responsibility for organizing the Carnival activities; Jacopo Guicciardini’s letter of January 8, 1513, to...

    • CHAPTER 3 THE ELECTION OF LEO X (pp. 42-52)

      Giovanni Cambi’s response to the extravagance of the Carnival festivities could hardly have been atypical; but if he and others who reacted similarly hoped for a restoration of the Republic, they were to be frustrated. Within a month, Cardinal Giovanni was elected pope, and one could argue in retrospect that his election, more than any other single event in the history of Florence, ensured the continuity of the Medici regime and would thus serve to transform Florentine political and cultural life in ways that no contemporary could then have imagined.

      Nonetheless, whatever concerns Florentine republicans may have had, many of...

    • CHAPTER 4 GIULIANO DE’ MEDICI’S CAPITOLINE INVESTITURE (pp. 53-66)

      After Leo’s election, a new set of themes was featured prominently in works of art and literature executed for Medici patrons: in addition to the themes of return and regeneration that one finds expressed in works com posed during the first months of the restoration, there were allusions to the Roman citizenship of the Medici and to the unity of Florence and Rome. It scarcely needs to be said that throughout the entire period of the Renaissance, classical references were of absolutely central importance to artistic programs of the type under consideration here; as we have seen, they were important...

    • CHAPTER 5 LEO X’S 1515 FLORENTINE ENTRATA (pp. 67-82)

      The artistic and musical elements of the Capitoline Investiture expressed the topos of Florentine-Rom an unity. That Florence and Rome were ever more closely connected after 1513, culturally and politically, is reflected as well in the artistic elements of the festivities organized for Leo’s 1515 Florentineentrata, though in a very different way. In 1513, in part perhaps because of its newness, the political relationship between the two cities was invoked explicitly, in precise textual references in thecantiand the didactic symbolism of the allegorical figures in the quasi-dramatic presentations. The explicitness and “self-consciousness” of the references also resulted...

  9. PART II. TOWARD THE PRINCIPATO:: LORENZO DE’ MEDICI, 1513–1519
    • CHAPTER 6 ARCHBISHOP GIULIO’S POSSESSO (pp. 85-86)

      Papal diplomatic initiatives inevitably intersected with developments in Florence where since 1513 Lorenzo II had been his family’s principal representative. The political implications of Giuliano’s ready acquiescence to the arguments of the moderates in 1512 were not lost on Leo; the pope found a more willing agent for his Florentine political agenda in his nephew Lorenzo, who was accordingly entrusted with responsibility for the restored regime. Giuliano himself needed little persuading: the prospect of residing more-or-less permanently in the Eternal City proved attractive enough, and shortly after Leo’s election he followed his older brother to Rome, where he took up...

    • CHAPTER 7 THE 1514 FEAST OF SAN GIOVANNI (pp. 87-92)

      Lorenzo, intensely ambitious, moved in the meantime to consolidate his position in Florence. He had learned some lessons well: if one needed specific examples to illustrate Savonarola’s claim that “many times the tyrant occupies the people in spectacles and festivals,”¹ Lorenzo’s would serve. Although he was no tyrant, it was clear to him, as to his relatives before and after him, that a successfulfestapromised potentially enormous returns, and he was determined to achieve such success with the festivities for the 1514 Feast of San Giovanni, the first since he had assumed responsibility for the government. Lorenzo’s artistic sensibilities...

    • CHAPTER 8 LORENZO DE’ MEDICI, CAPTAIN GENERAL OF THE FLORENTINE MILITIA AND DUKE OF URBINO (pp. 93-98)

      Insofar as the San Giovanni festivities were judged an artistic success, they may well have contributed to Lorenzo’s standing among some Florentines; but such ephemeral success, inevitably, was no substitute for more tangible and enduring accomplishments. In May of 1515 Lorenzo succeeded in having himself elected captain general of a corps of some five hundred Florentine militiamen who had been recruited the previous month at the pope’s behest by Lorenzo’s agent, his cousin Galeotto, during one of Lorenzo’s increasingly frequent absences from Florence.¹ His election violated custom: understandably fearful of the possible consequences of entrusting the position to a fellow...

    • CHAPTER 9 THE WEDDING OF LORENZO AND MADELEINE (pp. 99-114)

      There remained only the matter of an appropriate spouse. Leo’s meeting with Francis in 1515 was one manifestation of the importance to him of maintaining amicable relations with the French; Giuliano’s marriage to Filiberta was another. As Francesco Vettori reported, “The pope sought to establish a good, solid friendship with King Francis. He had it arranged that Lorenzo would take a French wife.”¹

      No event of Lorenzo’s career resulted in more elaborate festivities than his 1518 wedding to Madeleine de la Tour d’Auvergne, an event that prompted the pope to honor his nephew with the gift of an important musical...

  10. PART III. ALESSANDRO DB’ MEDICI AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PRINCIPATO
    • CHAPTER 10 THE FIRST YEARS OF CLEMENTE’S PONTIFICATE (pp. 117-127)

      Cardinal Giulio set about to reverse the effects of Lorenzo’s autocratic behavior and ineffectual stewardship of the Medici regime, and according to most accounts achieved considerable success.¹ His political accomplishments were matched by cultural ones: he is to be credited with a significant role in the execution of some of the most important artistic projects of the entire period, including the New Sacristy at the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence and the decoration of thesaloneat the Medici villa at Poggio a Caiano.² He may, in addition, have maintained a small musical “establishment” whose members possibly included Philippe...

    • CHAPTER 11 THE CORONATION OF CHARLES V (pp. 128-139)

      The outcome of the battle of Pavia and the sack of Rome served to demonstrate that the empire had at long last achieved undisputed hegemony in Europe. Clement could no longer afford to indulge a notorious tendency to equivocate; the events of the mid-1520s had forced his hand. That he was compelled to come to terms with Charles is vividly demonstrated by his decision to invest the emperor with the imperial crown, and the ceremonies in Bologna in late 1529 and early 1530 were, by any measure, among the most extraordinary of the entire sixteenth century.

      The principal musical elements...

    • CHAPTER 12 ALESSANDRO, DUKE OF THE FLORENTINE REPUBLIC (pp. 140-150)

      Charles’s coronation was only one of several consequences of the newly established relationship between him and Clement. The political effects of Clement’s reconciliation with the emperor soon manifested themselves: the pope was afforded a means to restore his family to Florence and to attempt a permanent resolution of its status.

      When Florence was besieged by imperial troops, the outcome was all but inevitable. The formal acts of capitulation were signed on August 12, 1530, by Ferrante Gonzaga and Bartolomeo Valori, the imperial and papal agents, and representatives of the city. As in 1512, aparlamentowas called and abalìa...

    • CHAPTER 13 THE WEDDING OF ALESSANDRO AND MARGARET (pp. 151-162)

      However much the regime’s stability may have been enhanced by virtue of Alessandro’s betrothal to the emperor’s daughter and the construction of the Fortezza da Basso, it continued to be threatened. There remained a large group of dangerously disaffected citizens; among them had been the duke’s own cousin, Cardinal Ippolito, whose sudden death in August of 1535 prompted the speculation, inevitably, that he had been assassinated at Alessandro’s behest.¹

      The festivities in Naples for Alessandro’s and Margaret’s wedding did not, therefore, occur under the most auspicious of circumstances; the regime’s opponents took advantage of the emperor’s presence in order to...

  11. CONCLUSION: TOWARD A TYPOLOGY OF FLORENTINE FESTIVAL MUSIC OF THE EARLY CINQUECENTO (pp. 163-172)

    What conclusions can one draw from the foregoing chapters? My objective was a reconstruction of the principal festivals in early cinquecento Florence for which there was a prominent musical component—not a complete reconstruction, certainly, since such would have been beyond the scope of this study, but complete enough to perm it one to define precisely the contexts in which musical performances figured on such occasions, the relationship of the musical elements to others, artistic and literary, the interplay of those various elements, and the distinctive roles each played in the artistic program as a whole. With the evidence thus...

  12. NOTES (pp. 173-250)
  13. INDEX (pp. 251-260)