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The Cosmos in the Palace

Rosen, Mark S. (2004) The Cosmos in the Palace. : The Palazzo Vecchio Guardaroba and the Culture of Cartography in Early Modem Florence, 1563-1589. PhD.

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Painted by Egnazio Danti and Stefano Buonsignori between 1563 and 1586, the 53 maps of the regions of the world in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence represent the state of geographical knowledge at the Medici court as well as one of the earliest integrations of cartography into a decorative project housing a collection of rare and precious objects-an early type of Wunderkammer. Although only partly completed, the original cosmo graphical program for the small room known as the Guardaroba defined one of the most ambitious and forward-looking of all Early Modem decorative ensembles, involving many different artists and media. Writing in 1568, supervising artist Giorgio Vasari described the in-progress Guardaroba as containing globes, painted astrological constellations, intarsia panels of plant and animal life, and antique marble imperial busts; most importantly, painted maps of the known geographical divisions of the world would be placed on the doors of a series of cabinets containing rarities and scientific instruments gathered by the patron, Cosimo I de' Medici. The fabrication of the Guardaroba progressed slowly, however, as other decorative projects better suited to the taste of Cosimo' s heirs took precedence at the Florentine court, and apart from its maps the room's decoration was never completed. Owing to the imbalance between its purported aims and its present state, the Guardaroba has until now received little attention, yet no other contemporary project attempted to bridge such a wide range of disciplines and involve such an eclectic array of artists, craftsmen, scientists, and geographical specialists in its realization. This study argues that in its far-reaching program, the Guardaroba acted as both collecting space and performative theater for ducal power, explicating a grand vision of the court's cosmology in a single gallery while simultaneously containing, categorizing, and classifying the rarest and finest objects of the Medici collection in one room. This study further concerns the genesis of the project, the personalities involved, its roots in both cartographic and decorative culture, its aims as a frame for a preexisting collection, and the printed and unpublished sources (engravings, atlases, portolan charts) used by the two cartographers to make the surviving maps.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, Thesis, Cartography, Florence
Language: English
Publisher: University of Groningen
Place of Publication: Berkeley, USA
Date of graduation: 1 October 2004
Status: Published
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, Thesis, Cartography, Florence
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2020 10:45
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2020 10:45

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