Patricians, Artists and the Playful and Burlesque Style in Literature, Art and Theatre (1600–1650)
RKD-Netherlands Institute for Art History, The Hague
In this paper I will discuss how Florentine patricians and artists participated in a shared burlesque world, with much attention to comical accents in literature, theatre plays, cicalate, sculptures and painted scenes.
I will start with the improvisational theatre plays performed in the Accademia degli Inconstanti, in which the use of dialect was important. I proceed with the use of the vernacular language in the theatre plays of Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger and how parts of these plays inspired fresco paintings. This is also the bridge to the developments in the decorations of the Casa Buonarroti, comissioned by the same Buonarroti the Younger. Here, we see how a classical realistic style evolved to a more playful illusionistic one with burlesque elements, which influenced other decorations. This is the case for example in the Salone degli Argenti in the Palazzo Pitti, where Cecco Bravo, Francesco Furini and Ottavio Vannini – who all worked in the Casa Buonarroti – finished the decorations of Giovanni da San Giovanni. From that point, I proceed to some playful and illusionistic accents in the palace and villa decorations of other patrician families like the Guadagni, the Corsi and the Niccolini, in all of which Baccio del Bianco played a decisive role. From the caramogi made by Domenico Pieratti in the garden of the Guadagni palace, we go to the caramogi in the poem Sconzio sposalizio by Francesco Furini, and from there to other burlesque and mock-heroic writings (such as Malmantile racquistato by Lorenzo Lippi, Avinavoliottoneberlinghieri by Piero de’ Bardi, and Aione by Buonarroti the Younger), which patricians and artists composed for the reunions and stravizzi (weekly dinners) of the Accademie degli Apatisti and della Crusca. I end with theatre again, with the improvised plays performed at the Accademia degli Improvvisi.