“Somma dilettazione nella musica ed ottimo gusto”: The Marquis Filippo Niccolini as Musical Patron in Seventeenth Century Florence
Università degli Studi di Firenze
For several years now, historical research has considered the urban patriciate as a privileged vantage point for understanding crucial aspects of cultural and artistic output in seventeenth century Florence. From this perspective, certain leading members of the most prominent patrician families played a decisive role; their patronage contributed to greatly enriching the musical scene of the time, albeit within the dominant taste of the Medici dynasty.
Among these, the figure of Marchese Filippo Niccolini (1586–1666) is certainly worth consideration. A member of one of the Florentine families most closely linked to the Medici (he was chamberlain to Giovan Carlo de’ Medici), Filippo was an important patron of the arts and music, as amply demonstrated by his correspondence with important composers of the time (Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger, Stefano Landi and Luigi Rossi, among others), and by the payments made for the musical performances and academies held regularly both at his palace in Via de’ Servi and at the Villa di Camugliano.
Although his figure has recently attracted the attention of art and architectural historians (R. Spinelli, F. Sottili, E. Goudriaan), a comprehensive survey of his musical patronage has not yet been carried out.
Through the study of account books, inventories and correspondence dating from the first decades of seventeenth century preserved in the family’s private archive in Florence, I therefore propose to offer a broader view of musical activities at Filippo Niccolini’s private court; the musicians employed or hired for special occasions; the economic and financial resources used for this purpose; and the cultural exchanges between Florence and Rome that he promoted through and for his musical patronage.