Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The coronation of Cosimo I de' Medici

Etienne Dupérac (1520 - 1604)
The coronation of Cosimo I de' Medici as Grand Duke of Tuscany in the Sala Regia in the Vatican; Cosimo kneeling by Pope Pius V, cardinals and various figures watching the event (c. 1570)
From Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae
Etching, engraving on paper
370 millimetres x 490 millimetres
The British Museum, London

Inscription Content: Caption lettered at the right of image 'Essendo venuto in Roma il Gran Duca di Toscana.../...e fu ricevuto da S. Sta in Concistoro pubblico nella Sala Regia come nel presente disegno si vede'.

Numbered in pen and ink in the top right corner '22'.

The coronation of Cosimo I de' Medici (June 12, 1519 – April 21, 1574) as Grand Duke of Tuscany in the Sala Regia in the Vatican; Cosimo kneeling by Pope Pius V, cardinals and various figures watching the event

In January 1537, Cosimo was elected head of the Florentine Republic and in the same year he styled himself Duke of Florence. He married Eleanora de Toledo in 1539.

He captured Siena in 1555, of which he became Lord in 1557.

He made Giorgio Vasari superintendent of buildings and had him build the Uffizi in Florence from which all public services could be run. He adopted as his residence the Pitti Palace.

In 1569, Pope Pius V named Cosimo Grand Duke of Tuscany. The title was the first of this kind in Italy. It was the recognition by the Pope of a sovereign ruler of a sovereign state.

This was th culmination of a long campaign by Cosimo to have himself reecognised as royalty.

In 1559 Pope Pius IV (Cardinal Giovan Angelo de' Medici) became pontiff. Cosimo had supported the new pontiff’s candidacy and, in the years that followed, his relations with the papacy improved dramatically. In October 1560 he traveled to Rome with Eleonora and made his triumphal entry to Siena en route. The principal goal of his mission was to have the Pope crown him king of Tuscany, which would have placed him above the other Italian princes and closer to the level of Philip and other European monarchs. In the event, fearing Italian and more especially Spanish and Viennese opposition, Pius IV balked at his request. Pius IV died in 1565.

The succeeding Pope, Pope Pius V, was willing to cooperate only in return for full compliance with Counter-Reformational reforms. The Duke lost no time implementing the decrees of the Council of Trent, which concluded in 1564.

In a further bid to mollify Rome, in 1566 he extradited Pietro Carnesecchi, who had long since been convicted of heresy but had never been handed over to the Inquisition. Carnasecchi was a humanist who had served as secretary of Pope Clement VII and who had been allowed to add de' Medici to his surname as he was regarded as a member of the family. After a trial based on his private correspondence on October 1, 1567 Carnesecchi was beheaded in Castel Sant'Angelo and then his body was burnt.

In December 1569 his efforts finally bore fruit when Pius made him grand duke. The next year the pontiff placed the crown on his head, marking the birth of the grand duchy of Tuscany.