The church of San Lorenzo, Florence, with funerary decorations to mark the death of King Henri IV of France. Etching, 1610.
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Henri IV was assassinated in Paris on 14 May 1610. This print apparently shows an elaborate commemoration held in Florence, presumably on account of his status as husband of Marie de' Medici: Medici family funerals were held in the church of San Lorenzo. "Funerals in San Lorenzo became part of this [the Medici] form of foreign policy, using effigies of defunct friendly sovereigns and, by means of such a public and opulent "necrology", to absorb them as members of the Medici family. Within a few years, three funerals of extraordinary solemnity and pomp took place: for Filippo II in 1598, for Henri IV of France in 1610, and for Margherita of Austria, wife of Filippo III of Spain and daughter-in-law of Filippo II, in 1611-1612. The prestige which reflected on the Medicis thanks to these funerals rites - using effigies in the absence of the actual corpse - justified the expenditure of both energy and money .... Foreign observers referred back to their respective nations; and accounts of the ceremonies, printed in the form of booklets, circulated between sovereigns and influential persons in Italy and Europe." (Cristina Acidini Luchinat, 'Funeral rites at the time of the Medicis', website associated with exhibition, cf. Bietti, op. cit.) View from the catafalque towards the west end. Skeletons painted or sculpted from ephemeral materials stand between the side chapels which are draped and hung with paintings presumably of events in the life of Henri IV
[Florence?] : [publisher not identified], [1610?]
1 print : etching ; image and text 20 x 36.7 cm
Prospettiva del'apparato. 1610
Sara Mamone, 'Il teatro della Morte', in Monica Bietti (ed.), La morte e la gloria, Leghorn 1999, pp. 22-27, repr. p. 23 ("Spaccato prospettiva di San Lorenzo con l'apparato per le esequie di Enrico IV di Francia (1600) [sic], incisione. Firenze, GDSU, Stampe Sciolte 2324")
Wellcome Library no. 528471i