CATANI, Francesco Saverino.. La reale medicide, esponente nella morte di Don Garzia i fatti più speciali di Cosimo Duca II. di Firenze ... Tragica festa teatrale, illustrata di rami e d'istoriche annotazioni.

Florence: Gaetano Cambiagi Stamperia Granducale, 1777., , 1777

Quarto (240 x 180 mm.), 190 pages with 9 full pages illustarion engraved by Matteo Carboni: two allegory of the Medici family, one view of Palazzo Pitti and six portraits ( Cosimo, Eleonora, Francesco, Giovanni, Garzia and Ferdinando de'Medici). A very fine copy in contemporary boards with manuscript title on spine.


First edition of Francesco Catani's (1755-1789) first published work, a tragic theatrical representation of the Medici family's history. The stage play was based on Garzia de' Medici's (1547-1562) death from Malaria when travelling to Spain, along with his brother Giovanni di Cosimo's and mother Eleonora of Toledo's death in the surrounding weeks. Each member of the family is presented through portraits engraved by Matteo Carboni, consisting in total of six illustrations: Cosimo I, Eleonora di Toledo, Francesco I, Giovanni di Cosimo I, Garzia di Toscana and Ferdinando I. The work includes further engravings by Carboni, being two allegorical tables with a motto and a view of Palazzo Pitti in Florence. It is dedicated to Marquis Vincenzo Capponi, a Florentine patrician.

La reale medicide was structured in five acts joined by cantatas, dithyrambs and dances which pertain very little to the solemnity of the piece. It was the first in a projected series of seven tragic theatrical festivals, of which only a second work was written the following year, the Bianca Capello. Both pieces were heavily criticised in the press, particularly in Catani's own journalistic publication Giornale fiorentino istorico-politico-letterario, a periodical ran in collaboration with Modesto Rastrelli, author of Morte di Alessandro de' Medici (1780). In particular, the play's contrived nature, lack of creativity and artificiality were emphasized, even advising the author to "change profession " (Catani, Francesco Maria Xaverio in Dizionario Biografico). Catani did not pursue further a career in theatre, focusing his energy on the publication of Giornale fiorentino with Rastrelli. The periodical contained roughly four themes: extracts from works, literary varieties, political reflections, and poetry. To this journalistic enterprise C. tried to associate various personalities including Benjamin Franklin, to whom he wrote on the 2nd of January 1778, inviting him to collaborate in a casual manner. Catani's later publications followed the previous political thematic, and were printed in his own house, in collaboration with Girolamo Betti with who he also carried out a trade in books.



Melzi, III, p. 394.


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