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$ 36,000

The galley of Calai and Zeti

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Documentation Ample Provenance
Documentation Notes Numbered within cartouche on upper left of recto: 5
Origin Italy
Period Pre 18th Century
Materials Pen and brown ink over black chalk on cream wove paper
Dimensions
W. 7.5 in; H. 5.25 in;
W. 19.05 cm; H. 13.34 cm;
Condition Fair.
Creation Date 1571-1635
Description The galley of Calai and Zeti, propelled by Boreas and Oreithvia
Inscribed in brown ink beside figures on recto: Borea / Oritia / Zeti / Calai
Inscribed on bottom of recto: CALAI E ZETI CONDOTTI DA BORA ET ORITIA

Engraved by Remigio Cantagallina in reverse (illustrated Bartsch, XX, no. 280)
Provenance: Count Enrico Ridolfi (1829-1910), Florence
Alfred Normand (b. 1910), Paris (Lugt 153c)


One of a family of architects and stage designers, Giulio Parigi was the son of Alfonso di Santi Parigi, who succeeded Giorgio Vasari as the head of the Fabbrica degli Uffizi in 1574. Giulio studied with his father and his great uncle, Bartolomeo Ammanati, as well as Bernardo Buontalenti. Giulio’s early work, including frescoes in the Uffizi, brought him fame, and, in circa 1598, he established an academy on via Maggio, where he taught architecture, drawing, geometry, mechanics and perspective. One of his more enthusiastic students, Prince Cosimo de’Medici, later Grand Duke Cosimo II, became his most important patron, asking the artist to create stage sets and festival designs from 1608 to 1619. Synthesizing the various arts with technical ingenuity, Parigi’s stage and festival tableaux, always characterized by dramatic lighting, seamlessly merged the audience with the players. Presaging the Baroque theater, these Florentine extravaganzas, disseminated by engravings, were known throughout Europe, influencing, amongst others, Inigo Jones and Josef Furttenbach the Elder. Parigi’s innovative work was furthered by his disciples, Jacques Callot and Stefano della Bella. As an architect, Parigi, upon succeeding Buontalenti as official court architect in 1608, completed numerous important projects, including the expansion of Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens, all with decidedly theatrical aspects.
This pen and brown ink drawing depicts one of the elaborate barges designed by Parigi as part of his most spectacular court festival, L’argonautica. As the crescendo of two months of festivities celebrating the wedding of Cosimo de’Medici to the Archduchess Maria Magdalena of Austria in the autumn of 1608, this great mock battle, in which every aspect was conceived and designed by Parigi, took place on the evening of November 3rd on the Arno between the bridges of Santa Trinità dal Levante and Carraia del Ponente. According to a detailed description by Rinuccini, Parigi created a reenactment of the triumph of Jason and the Argonauts over the armada of the King of Colchis, ending with Jason, played by Cosimo, supported by the Argonauts, played by members of the Florentine nobility, presenting the Golden Fleece to his bride (see Rinuccini, Descrizione, Florence, 1608, pp. 56-66). Depicting the galley of Calai and Zeti, one of nineteen fantastic and unreal barges in the battle, this design was engraved in reverse by Remigio Cantagallina, with only slight differences in detail (see A.M. Negro Spina, Giulio Parigi e gli incisori delle sua cerchia, Naples, 1983, fig. 13). The majority of the preparatory drawings for the barges are preserved in the Uffizi.
Styles / Movements Old Master, Other
Incollect Reference Number 305041
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