La Principessa saggia
L’eredità di Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici Elettrice Palatina
Exhibition catalogue, Florence, Pitti Palace, Palatine Gallery, 22 December 2006–15 April 2007
To visit the official web site of the exhibition click HERE
Over thirty years have passed from the first and unparalleled exhibition dedicated to the Last Medicis. Now, at Pitti Palace, the lavish late baroque of the Florentine court, in a European context that, thanks to the German marriage of the last Medici princess, comes to life once again before the decline and extinction of the great Tuscan dynasty.
Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici (1667–1743), daughter of Grand Duke Cosimo III and Marguérite-Louise d’Orléans, was, in fact, the last Medici. In 1691, she married Johann Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuburg, Elector Palatine, and moved to Düsseldorf with the title of Electress Palatine.
Her name is inextricably tied to the fate of Florence. In fact, she is credited with safeguarding and preserving the immense artistic patrimony collected by the Medici family over three centuries as they ruled Tuscany. The third comma of the Convention stipulated in 1737 between the Electress Palatine and the first Hapsburg-Lorraine Grand Duke, Francesco Stefano, is better known as the ‘Family Pact’; it prohibited the new reigning dynasty from moving “or taking out of the Capital or Grand Duchy . . . Galleries, Paintings, Statues, Libraries, Jewels and other precious things”, so that these could remain “as an ornament to the State, for Public use and to attract the curiosity of outsiders”. This very modern and pragmatic attitude on the part of Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici has allowed Florence to maintain intact its inexhaustible artistic heritage.
In addition to this fundamental act, which has made the Electress Palatine one of the most eminent figures in Florence’s history, there are many reasons for dedicating this show to her, 270 years after the ‘Family Pact’.
In fact, the exhibition aims to propose to the public a vaster history of art and collecting centred on the figure of the Electress Palatine and, through her, of her father Cosimo III, her brother Ferdinando and her husband Johann Wilhelm, among the most important patrons and collectors in Europe at the time. Through the presentation of extremely refined works of art (masterpieces of painting and sculpture, striking furnishings in semi-precious stones, bronzes, miniatures, jewels, porcelains), what is represented is that milieu characterised by great attention paid to art that intimately united, between the late 17th century and the early 18th century, the two courts of Florence and Düsseldorf, and therefore Italy, Germany and the Low Countries.
- Edited by:
- Stefano Casciu
- 40 b&w and 260 color illustrations