Ceremonial, Art and Architecture in Palazzo Pitti
The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Although the Medici princely palace in Florence has been extensively studied, the interrelations among court ceremonial, art, decoration and architecture during the seventeenth century await proper investigation. By analyzing both archival and visual evidence, this paper investigates how works of art, furniture and interior decoration interacted with the architectural framework and fashioned the spaces within Palazzo Pitti in relation to court ceremonial and social hierarchy. Inventories allow us to reconstruct which paintings and pieces of furniture were displayed in the palace's rooms, but there has been no systematic exploration of the relationships among works of art on view, the iconography of the "fixed" decoration (frescoes and stucco), and the ceremonial functions of the architectural spaces. What messages did such displays and decorative ensembles convey to the visitors waiting in the antechambers before entering the "Sala del Trono" (where a monumental baldachin under a fresco by Pietro da Cortona established a relation between the Grand Duke and Jupiter)? How did such decorative ensembles contributed to the production of a hierarchy of architectural spaces? How did ceremonial relations among courtiers, visitors, and members of the ruling family shape viewers' relations to the objects on display and to the spatial articulation (and hierarchy) of the rooms? In addition to archival sources, drawings by the court architect and Guardaroba Diacinto Maria Marmi (c. 1625-1702) will enable me to further address such interactions. Marmi was in charge of furnishing the Pitti apartments in relation to the differing functions of the rooms and ceremonial needs of the members of the Medici family. His underexplored drawings represent a unique visual source for the design of display in the Baroque interior; they unveil how decoration, furniture and the display of art fashioned the different typologies of rooms in relation to architectural space and court ritual.