Funeral Rites for the Grand Duke of Tuscany

CEREMONIES. FUNERALS. FESTIVALS. Cosimo II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1590-1621)

Esequie fatte in Venetia dalla natione fiorentina al Ser. D. Cosimo II, quarto Gran Duca di Toscana il di 25 di Maggio 1621. Orazione di Giulio Strozzi recitata da lui in Venetia nell'esequie del Serenissimo D. Cosimo II…

Venice: Appresso Il [Giovanni Battista] Ciotti, 1621


Folio: 29.5 x 20.3 cm. [48] pp. A-M2


Bound in 17th c. red carta rustica. A fine, crisp copy with light dampstains. Illustrated with 2 engraved title pages, a full-page portrait of Cosimo II, and 15 full-paged engraved plates. One of the engravings is signed by Francesco Valeggio (or Valesio) (sculp.) and Philipp Esengren (delineauit.) Watanabe-O’Kelly identifies the second engraver as Filippo Csegtenio [?].

Funeral book describing the exequies held in Venice for Cosimo II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1590-1621) and the elaborate décor created for the occasion. The opulent ceremonies were accompanied by music (now lost) by Monteverdi.

The ceremony took place on 25 May 1621 in the church of the Dominican Fathers S.S. Giovanni and Paolo and the decorative programme was entrusted to the architect-painter Matteo Ingoli (born in Ravenna in 1587 and died of the plague of Venice in 1631) who made use of the best Venice carvers and plasterers, all mentioned in the work.

The beautiful engravings illustrate the funeral ceremony, the interior of the church, the grand catafalque, and the sculptures, paintings and bas-reliefs specially made to celebrate the splendor of the Medici family and its special relationship with the Serenissima Republic. 

Appended to the description of the funeral and the décor is the funeral oration by Giulio Strozzi (1583-1652).

Cosimo II de’ Medici, elder son of Ferdinando I de’ Medici and Christina of Lorraine, was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1609 until his death in 1621. He is best remembered as the patron of Galileo, Cosimo’s childhood tutor, whom the Grand Duke named court mathematician in 1610. It was in that year that Galileo published his Sidereus Nuncius, announcing the discovery of four moons of Jupiter. He named these moons the “Medicean Stars” in honor of Cosimo and his brothers.

Watanabe-O'Kelly and Simon, Festivals and ceremonies, 1448; Vinet, Bibliographie ... des beaux-arts, 609; Ruggieri, Catalogue, 1873, no. 777; Cicognara, 1427; Graesse; VI, 512