The Theatre of Magnificence
Jousts and Chivalric Display in Medici Florence
by CHRIS DOBSON
A4 Format PDF, approx 100 illustrations
This PDF format eBook is available exclusively from this website
New release date end July 2020*
*Update 30th June. The delay over sourcing images during the Covid crisis is now almost completely resolved. Publication is now confirmed for the end of July 2020. During the lockdown delay, I took advantage of the situation to research further 14th century documents from Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna for inclusion in the book, along with additional images from my photographic archive. This has meant a partial rewrite and expansion of the text and re-formatting, but the expanded book is much improved for the inclusion of this extra material: happily, something positive has come out of the delay.
This book brings to life a vanished world of amazing opulence. Renaissance Florence was a city which discouraged ties to the old Nobility in public life, and being condemned as one of the grandi could get you disbarred from political office and power. In this feudal vacuum, the riches generated by banking and trade were used to arm the young men of the wealthy merchant class, who took part not only in spectacular jousts, but also torch-lit shows of horsemanship and courtly elegance which combined martial skill, romance and eroticism. Naturally, in the city that was the ‘Cradle of the Renaissance’, these extraordinary events were rich in Neo-Classical allegory and symbolism.
In this book Chris Dobson looks at detailed eyewitness accounts of these events, combined with the arms and armour listed in the Medici inventories, and the book is illustrated with many photos of wonderful Florentine art and surviving examples of the arms and armour described. Bringing these threads together, he builds up an accurate picture of the arms, armour and clothing of the participants, not only for the main protagonists, like Lorenzo Il Magnifico de’ Medici, but also their groups of retainers, the brigate, both mounted and on foot.