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Title:Amazzoni di Dio: Florentine musical spectacle under Maria Maddalena d'Austria and Cristina di Lorena (1620-1630)
Author(s):Harness, Kelley Ann
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hill, John W.
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, European
Women's Studies
Abstract:Women ruled Florence for the first time in its history from 28 February 1621 until 14 July 1628, when, during the seven-and-a-half years between the death of Grand Duke Cosimo II (1590-1621) and the eighteenth birthday of his son Ferdinando II (1610-1670), the city was governed jointly by two regents, Cosimo's widow, Archduchess Maria Maddalena d'Austria (1587-1631), and his mother Cristina di Lorena (1565-1637). During a period when the rights of female rulers were under attack, one of the regents, Archduchess Maria Maddalena, used her patronage of musical spectacles to bolster her claims to political legitimacy. Lacking the dynastic or mythological models used by male rulers, the archduchess turned to subjects that could reassert the political rights of women and provide a spiritual basis for legitimization: Old Testament heroines and female saints--exemplary women who drew their power directly from God.
The seventeenth century was an era that believed in the persuasive powers of the arts, including music's ability to move human affections and, by extension, behavior. And it was an age in which viewers, including theatrical audiences, were predisposed to interpret images allegorically. Through close examination of the literary and musical texts of the spectacles staged during the regency, as well as consideration of Maria Maddalena's other artistic and literary patronage, the dissertation attempts to determine the ways in which court-sponsored operas reflected and interpreted political realities. Archival evidence demonstrates the degree to which the archduchess was involved closely in the production of musical spectacles during her rule. The result is an archival and interpretive study of the regency spectacles, which contributes toward a revision of scholarship's view of this period in Florentine history. It demonstrates that, like other seventeenth-century rulers, Maria Maddalena patronized musical spectacles that affirmed not only the Catholic faith, but also her own position among God's chosen representatives on earth--a seventeenth-century "amazon of God."
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Harness, Kelley Ann
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9702533
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9702533

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