The University of Melbourne, Early Modern Circle Public Lecture:
“The Female Virtuosa at the Court of Medici Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere: Ladies-in-waiting, Artists, Musicians, Actresses and Writers”,
Dr Adelina Modesti (La Trobe University)
Date: 21 August, 2017
Venue: North Theatre, Old Arts, The University of Melbourne
This paper will address the cultural patronage (“matronage”) of Grand Duchess of Tuscany Vittoria della Rovere via an examination of the virtuoso women artists, musicians and writers she supported throughout her long life. Victoria was an active matron of the arts who gathered round her some of the most important female cultural producers of the day, sponsoring their creative work and developing their talent. Some of these women were her ladies-in-waiting, whom she educated as artists, musicians or embroiderers as part of their cultural development and future roles at the Medici court. Others were professional artists whom she patronized or called to her court as resident artists. In particular Vittoria appreciated the cultural production of the painters Giovanna Garzoni, Elisabetta Sirani, Margherita Caffi, Camilla Guerrieri Nati, Giovanna Fratellini; the composer Barbara Strozzi; singers Francesca Caccini and her daughter Margherita Signorini, Luisa Marsia, Maria Caterina Piccioli; the actress Beatrice Vitali; and the writers Arcangela Tarabotti, Maria Selvaggia Borghini and Barbara Tigliamochi degli Albizzi. The paper will finish with a discussion of Le Assicurate, the all female literary academy founded in Siena in 1654 under the “patroncinio” of Vittoria della Rovere. Unpublished archival material from the Archivio di Stato di Firenze will introduce some of these women, whilst new light will be shed on the art and lives of others.