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Ferdinando
Grand Prince of Tuscany
Spouse Violante of Bavaria
Full name
Ferdinando de' Medici
Royal House of Medici
Father Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Mother Marguerite Louise d'Orléans
Born 9 August 1663(1663-08-09)
Florence, Tuscany
Died 31 October 1713 (aged 50)
Florence, Tuscany
Burial Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence
Religion Catholicism

Ferdinando de' Medici (9 August 1663 – 31 October 1713) was the elder son of Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Marguerite Louise d'Orléans. Ferdinando was heir to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, with the title Grand Prince, from his father's accession in 1670 until his death in 1713. During a thirty-year period of feverish, intelligent and highly effective promotion, this musician prince ("the Orpheus of princes") succeeded in making Florence the musical capital of Italy, attracting to it the leading talents of his day.[1]

Contents

Life

Ferdinando was born to Cosimo de' Medici and his wife Marguerite Louise of Orléans, a granddaughter of Maria de' Medici. When Ferdinando's parents separated in 1675, his mother (who disdained her husband only slightly more than Florence did) returned to Paris, where she was supposed to be restricted to a monastery in Montmartre. Ferdinando became a rebellious youth, who disagreed intensely with his father on every subject.[2]

Violante of Bavaria, Ferdinando's wife

Ferdinando had a great affinity with his vivacious mother. He was handsome, a fine rider, a talented musician. He sang melodiously, and played the harpsichord. He was a master in counterpoint which he studied under Gianmaria Paliardi of Genoa and various bow instruments which he studied under Piero Salvetti. He was known for his ability to play music on sight [3] and afterwards repeating the piece faultlessly without looking at the music.[4] Ferdinando's other delight was intimate liaisons and affairs, including Petrillo, a musician, famous for his beauty and a Venetian castrato by the name of Cecchino. His uncle Francesco Maria de' Medici, only three years older, had a strong influence on his life.

In 1689 Ferdinando married to Violante of Bavaria, the plain daughter of the elector of Bavaria Ferdinand and Adelaide of Savoy. Although she liked music also and loved him, the marriage was unhappy and barren. In November 1688 Violante of Bavaria had left Munich; the Italian court awaited her in Mittenwald. At Innsbruck she was received by Eleonora Maria of Austria, the ex-Queen of Poland, on behalf of her husband, Duke Charles V, Duke of Lorraine, who was ill. In Bologna her eighteen-year-old brother-in-law Gian Gastone de' Medici came to meet her.[5] In December Violante arrived in Tuscany. She fell in love with Ferdinando at sight. Unfortunately she did not stir the Prince with similar emotion.

In 1696 Ferdinando sought recreation in Venice. Ferdinando fell in love with a female vocalist called La Bambagia.[6] It is presumed that during the Carnival of Venice, Ferdinando contracted syphilis. Victoria Tarquini, called La Bombace, the wife of the concertmaster Jean-Baptiste Farinel became the mistress of Ferdinando. (She may have been a daughter of Robert Cambert and had an affair with Handel.[7])

Legacy

Ferdinando's contemporary reputation rests on his role as patron of the arts. He kept a villa in Pratolino, located some 12 km outside Florence, (now called the Villa Demidoff after a later owner, Anatole Demidov) which was home to many musical activities.

Ferdinando was a connoisseur: he bought Madonnas by Raphael and Andrea del Sarto. He also patronized Giuseppe Maria Crespi, Anton Domenico Gabbiani and Sebastiano Ricci. Crespi was long employed by him at Pitti. Ferdinando organized the first public exhibiton of fine arts to be held in Florence (1705, in the cloister of SS. Annunziata).[8] Among poets he befriended Vincenzo da Filicaja and Benedetto Menzini. Scipione Maffei's dedication to him of the Giornale de' Letterati (1710) is a proof of Ferdinando's widespread reputation.

Villa in Pratolino

His accomplishments were mainly musical. His theatre at Pratolino, at the third floor of his villa, designed by Antonio Maria Ferri had for years a great importance. Among the musicians he invited were Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti, Giacomo Antonio Perti, Giovanni Legrenzi, Giovanni Pagliardi, Carlo Pollaroli, Giuseppe Maria Orlandini, Benedetto Marcello and Bernardo Pasquini.[9] Between 1698 and 1708 Bartolomeo Cristofori build several piano fortes for Ferdinando. Ferdinando owned more than 75 instruments, under which a folding harpsichord, two oval spinets, a spinettone. George Frederic Handel [10] and Alessandro Scarlatti probably played on the instruments either in the Palazzo Pitti, or in the Medicean country villa of Poggio a Caiano or Pratolino. Antonio Salvi, the family doctor, wrote several librettos, used by Handel for his opera.[11] Handel's Rodrigo (opera) was first performed in Florence in 1708.

Ferdinando kept up correspondence with Alessandro Scarlatti about musical details in his operas, while producing five of his operas. In 1711 Antonio Vivaldi dedicated his Estro Armonico to him.

References

  1. ^ http://www.quadroframe.com/html/albums/fr9829_en.html#contents
  2. ^ Acton, H. (1958) The last Medici, p. 160.
  3. ^ Website in Italian and English
  4. ^ Acton, H. (1958) The last Medici, p. 164.
  5. ^ Acton, H. (1958) The last Medici, p. 171.
  6. ^ Acton, H. (1958) The last Medici, p. 210.
  7. ^ Harris, E.T. (2001) Handel as Orpheus: voice and desire in the chamber cantatas, p. 180.
  8. ^ Acton, H. (1958) The last Medici, p. 259.
  9. ^ Harris, E.T. (2001) Handel as Orpheus: voice and desire in the chamber cantatas, p. 37. ISBN 0-674-00617-8
  10. ^ http://gfhandel.org/chron1.htm
  11. ^ Dean, W. & J.M. Knapp (1996) Handel's Operas 1704-1726. Clarendon Press Oxford, p. 80.

Source

  • Cesati, Franco (2005). "The twillight of the dynasty". in Monica Fintoni, Andrea Paoletti. The Medici: Story of a European Dynasty. La Mandragora s.r.l.. pp. 131–132.  

Ancestry

Ferdinando de' Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany
Born: 9 August 1663 Died: 31 October 1713
Italian royalty
Preceded by
Cosimo de' Medici
Grand Prince of Tuscany
1670–1713
Succeeded by
Gian Gastone de' Medici
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Ferdinando de' Medici (August 9, 1663 – October 31, 1713) was Grand Prince of Tuscany. He was the heir to the Tuscan throne, but never ruled, as he was outlived by his father, Grand Duke Cosimo III.

Contents

Life

Ferdinando was born to Cosimo de' Medici and his wife Marguerite Louise of Orléans, a granddaughter of Maria de' Medici. His father travelled extensively and visited Holland twice: in the winter of 1667/1668 and in 1669. A patron of the arts, In Leiden he visited the painters Gerard Dou and Frans van Mieris the Elder, and even ordered a selfportrait from Rembrandt. Swammerdam showed him his collection of insects.[1] When Ferdinando's parents separated in 1675, his mother who disdained her husband only slightly more than Florence, returned to Paris, where she was supposed to be restricted to a monastery in Montmartre. When Cosimo invited her to return to Florence, she wrote she had would first meet him in hell.

Like his uncle Francesco Maria and brother Gian Gastone, Ferdinando was an accomplished musician. Between 1698 and 1708 Bartolomeo Cristofori build a couple of piano fortes for Ferdinando. George Frederic Handel and Alessandro Scarlatti probably played on the instruments either in the Palazzo Pitti, or in the Medicean country villa of Poggio a Caiano or Pratolino, located some 12 km outside Florence. Antonio Salvi, the family doctor, wrote several librettos, used by Handel for his opera.[2] Handel and Corelli were well acquainted with Ferdinando's sister Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici; Corelli dedicated to her the 12 concerti grossi. Handel would visit her also in Düsseldorf during continental trips. Ferdinando kept up correspondence with Alessandro Scarlatti, and produced five of his operas. He also patronized Giuseppe Maria Crespi and Sebastiano Ricci. Antonio Vivaldi to him his Estro Armonico in 1711.

Ferdinando's other delight was intimate liaisons and affairs, and like his brother, mostly with men, including Petronillo and a venetian castrati by the name of Cecchino. It is presumed that during a visit to the Carnival of Venice in 1696, Ferdinando contracted syphilis.

In 1689 Ferdinando was married, though unwillingly, to Violante of Bavaria, the plain daughter of the elector of Bavaria Ferdinand and Adelaide of Savoy. Although she liked music also and loved him, the marriage was unhappy and barren. The Grand Duke's failure to obtain grandsons led to a crisis, which upon the death of Gian Gastone in 1737, led external powers to assign the Grand Duchy to Francis, the husband of Maria Theresia, thus ending the independence of the Tuscan state.

Legacy

Ferdinando's contemporary reputation rests on his role as patron of the arts. He kept a villa in Pratolino (now called the Villa Demidoff after a later owner, Anatole Demidov) which was home to many musical (and apparently, sexual) activities. At this villa, he had built an indoor theater, designed by Antonio Maria Ferri.

Probably the most important contribution of Ferdinando was in providing a home, salary, and supporting environment for the inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori, whom Ferdinando hired as his keeper of instruments.

Ancestry

References

  • Cesati, Franco (2005). "The twillight of the dynasty". in Monica Fintoni, Andrea Paoletti. The Medici: Story of a European Dynasty. La Mandragora s.r.l.. pp. 131–132. 
  1. Israel, J. (1995) The Dutch Republic, Its Rise Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806. Clarendon Press Oxford, p. 877.
  2. Dean, W. & J.M. Knapp (1996) Handel's Operas 1704-1726. Clarendon Press Oxford, p. 80.

External links


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