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The 'idealising' content of festivals

James II’s coronation record provides some idea of the idealising nature of these forms.   The ceremony itself and the symbolic, hyperbolic structures around it painted figures larger than life.   Similarly, in the entry prepared for Maria de’ Medici into Paris in 1610, her husband Henri IV was deliberately painted as something above and beyond a simple man.   The idea of him as king could not be conceived or understood, wrote Mathurin Regnier the inventor of the show, “sans s’imaginer quelquechose au dessus de l’homme”.  The thematic structure of this entry, therefore, was founded upon ideas such as exaltation, praise, glory and exhibition.   By the display of greatness, inventors of festivals hoped to teach their princes to emulate what they saw and to remind them of past achievements which might be repeated in the future.   Thus, in 1589, the history of good government in Florence, the splendid dynasties of the Lorraine and Medici families and their victorious military histories are displayed on the arches erected for the entry of Christine de Lorraine. 

Illustration 9 shows the first arch which, through its symbolic images, demonstrates the history of good government in the city 

9. Press mark 595 m 4.   Christine of Lorraine’s entry into Florence, 1589, good government in Florence – page 38 of 168.
Illustration 9

The second arch (Illustration 10) includes a series of canvasses representing the dynasties of Lorraine and Medici.  In the canvas shown here, Catherine de’ Medici and her family are depicted.  The military history of the two houses since the first crusade was represented on the third arch.

10. Press mark 595 m 4.   Christine of Lorraine’s entry into  Florence, 1589, Catherine de’ Medici and her children – page 56 of 168.
Illustration 10

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