Il Mondo Festeggiante (The Celebrating World)




Stefano Della Bella (1610-1664), Il Mondo Festeggiante (The Celebrating World), the set of 3 etchings, 1661. Reference: DeVesme 70-72, only state. On heavy laid paper, with thread margins, in very good condition (one with reinforcements verso; some misprinting at top/center of another); one with a star and countermark letter R watermark, approximate size 11 3/4 x 17 1/8 inches, archival matting.

Superb impressions of these large rarities; with the guidelines for the lettering at the bottom margins still printing.

These illustrations record the festival staged in 1661 in honor of the marriage of Cosimo de Medici and Marguerite-Louise d’Orleans. The festival takes place in the Pitti Palace amphitheater, in Florence. Two of the illustrations are remarkably complex, the third appears to be a bird’s eye view of marching formations and choreography.

In one scene Atlas, a huge giant constructed for the occasion holds a huge globe, from which 4 women singers will emerge; hundreds of marchers, many on horseback, surround this spectacle. Prince Cosimo rides past below, left of center. In the next composition Atlas – thanks to a spectacular engineering feat -ihas transformed into a mountain at the center, standing between chariots representing the sun and the moon. Four groups of cavaliers surround him, costumed to symbolize Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. Huge pyramidal wax torch structures on the periphery light up the scene.