12 June 2009
FLORENCE 1661 -- MONIGLIA, Giovanni Andrea. Ercole in Tebe Festa teatrale rappresentata in Firenze per le reali nozze de' serenissimi sposi Cosimo terzo Principe di Toscana, e Margherita Luisa Principessa d'Orleans. Florence: Stamperia all'Insegna della Stella, 1661.
4o (224 x 160 mm). 13 etched plates (one folding, 12 double-page) all by VALERIO SPADA after the designs of FERDINANDO TACCA (repaired tears along horizontal folds with some slight loss to image). (Small marginal repairs at gutter to title and to N2-P1.) Contemporary vellum over pasteboard. Provenance: Baron Horace de Landau (1824-1903, bookplate).
Moniglia's work documents the celebrations held for the marriage of COSIMO III DE'MEDICI (1642-1723), Grand Duke of Tuscany, to Princess MARGUERITE-LOUISE of Orléans (1645-1721) of in 1661. Moniglia's musical drama was performed at the Teatro dell'Accademia degli Immobili on 12 July 1661. Over 300 performers in 370 costumes took part. Music was composed by JACOPO MELANI and GIOVANNI ANDREA MONIGLIA, who was the Grand Duke's physician, wrote the libretto, based on Euripede's play Hercules Furens. Ferdinando Tacca designed the stage-curtain and all the sets and apparati, which were drawn for this book by Valerio Spada. The plates show the twelve major scenes of the drama, culminating with the large folding thirteenth plate illustrating the grand finale in the garden of Venus. Spada was heavily influenced in his etching style by his fellow artist at the Medici court, Stefano della Bella. He was employed originally as a writing-master, but after della Bella's departure for France, started to produce etchings. Moniglia's libretto was so successful it was revived for a performance in Venice in 1671. Unfortunately the marriage was a disaster and quickly developed into open domestic warfare, leading to divorce in 1675. Berlin 4124 (calling for 12 plates); Cicognara 1457 (calling for 11 plates); Gamba 2013; Vinet 613; Watanabe 1294 (noting 14 plates in the British Library copy where there is an additional folding plate of a palace and procession).
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