'La Sposa trionfante' : entertainments for princely marriages in Turin, Mantua and Florence, 1608
This thesis is a study of the pageantry and entertainments which took place in 1608 on the occasion of three aristocratic marriages, those of Princesses Margherita and Isabella of Savoy to Francesco Gonzaga of Mantua and Alfonso d'Este of Modena and of Maria Maddalena of Austria to Cosimo II de' Medici of Tuscany. Volume I comprises: a brief survey of the political situation in northern Italy in 1608, including the marriage negotiations between savoy, Mantua and Modena; a discussion of attitudes to women current in the Renaissance as reflected in marriage pageantry; a full account of the pageantry and entertainments celebrating these marriages, drawing on archival material and contemporary published descriptions; a discussion of the interpretation of pageantry, the response of the spectators, and pageantry's value as political propaganda and as a means of promoting and spreading artistic development. Volume II is an edited collection (in Italian and French) of the relevant documents from Italian state archives and full transcriptions of the three principal accounts published in 1608. The thesis concludes that there is a close relationship between political changes and developments in pageantry. The rise of absolutism as the dominant form of government in Italy at the end of the sixteenth century is parallelled by the glorification of the ruler in pageantry. The stability and prosperity of the state come to be identified with the security and strength of the ruler. The thesis offers a new approach to the role of women in Renaissance politics and society through examination of marriage pageantry. Women are represented as counsellors and mediators, rarely taking action, but promoting peace and, through their role as mothers of future heirs, ensuring stability and prosperity in the state.