1664 · Paris
aThis suite of etchings depicts the mock naval battle called “Argonatica” performedin Florence on the Arno river on Nov. 3, 1608. The “Argonautica” was part of theelaborate celebration of the wedding of Cosimo II, Duke of Tuscany, to MariaMaddalena of Austria.
The images were originally published in slightly larger size in Battaglia naualerapp.a in Arno per le nozze dell ser.mo principe de Toscana l'anno 1608. The shipsand floats were designed by Giulio Parigi, with the exception of two that weredesigned by Jacopo Ligozzi and one by Ludovico Cardi da Cigoli. The 1608 etchingswere made Remigio Cantagallina. Here they are printed in reverse fromCantagallina's etchings.
This naumachia or water-borne festival enacted a parade and battle between themythical Argonauts against the armada of Colchis, while relating the love story ofJason, leader of the Argonauts, and Medea, daughter of the King of Colchis.
Roy Strong describes the event in his Art and Power: “the most extraordinary andexotic boats had been constructed to bear the knights to the combat.” In theirdesign, which in the main was by Giulio Parigi (d.1635), they belong to a line ofdescent back to Vrari’s mascarade of 1565 via Buontalenti’s floats for the sbarra of1589. Cosimo came as Jason on a ship based on a venetian bucentar…vanquishedtwo fire breathing bulls, two warriors and a dragon, seizing the Golden Fleece fromits Temple to present it to his bride.” (150)
After the original 1608 edition, there were three later 17th editions of the etchingsindicating the continued interest in ornate Medici festivals, especially thenaumauchia with its river-borne chariots, accompanied by fireworks.
One of the other three editions was published by Jean Sauvé’s father BaltazarMoncornet dated 1662. Another edition was engraved by Nicolas Boucquet andpublished by Moncornet [undated]. Yet another is without publisher information,Paris? : s.n. 1690-1709?
All editions are rare. Only two North American locations for the original 1608edition: Getty, Yale. There are three North American locations for any of the later17th century NYPL, Getty, Redwood. No locations for this 1664 imprint.
Ref: Bartsch,; XX, p. 20-38, p. 62-63; Lipperheide 2743 (Moncornet edition); Strong,Roy. Art and Power. 1984. Vinet, 607; Weigert, R.-A., Préaud, M. Inventaire du fondsfrançais : graveurs du XVIIe sičcle,; vol. 1, p. 391-392, no. 9-26 (Inventory #: 1281)