chapter  5
14 Pages

Material Magnificence between the Courts of France and Florence

Vittoria della Rovere’s French Luxury Imports1
WithAdelina Modesti

In 1663 Vittoria della Rovere, initiated a search via her agents in France for a series of portraits of illustrious personages for her son Prince Cosimo III de’ Medici, as well as a range of luxury items, including clothing, lace and jewellery, for herself, Medici court functionaries, family members and friends, which she paid for out of her personal finances. Such luxury goods served as diplomatic gifts, which circulated in the courts of Italy and Europe, aiding the establishment of national and transnational political alliances as well as affective relationships and friendships, especially amongst dynastic women. This chapter will examine this transnational cultural exchange by focusing on some of the luxury items that Vittoria imported from France, arguing that she wished to fashion herself as a modern consumer of the latest international trends. This was a specific diplomatic strategy aimed at consolidating the Medici’s alliance with the French court, as seen in the recent marriage of her son, Cosimo III, to the cousin of King Louis XIV.