14 th –20 th Century
Hanna Osiecka-Samsonowicz, Polish Ceremonies in the Roman ‘Teatro del Mondo’ (1587-1696)
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POLISH CEREMONIES IN THE ROMAN ‘TEATRO DEL MONDO’ (1587-1696)1
Roman Baroque celebrations, a social-artistic phenomenon, extremely elaborate and important for the period, bordering on almost all the spheres of art and culture, have already had extensive literature devoted to them. They have been analyzed on the basis of archival and iconographic material from many viewpoints: typology, history, history of art, music, and theatre.2 Although it is true that firework spectacles, illuminations, pompous entries into cities, as well as courtly and ludic events, were organized not only in Rome but also in many Italian and European centres, the Roman feast was special not only because of its frequency and large scale, but above all because of its vital importance for the development of contributions by Catholic states: in the city often described in the sources as the Gran Teatro del Mondo, these, were trying, by means of various spectacles, to display their power and to provide convincing arguments for their political causes and aspirations. From Rome, the capital of Respublica Christiana, and the centre of European information, the news of the ceremonies spread out rapidly around the whole continent. The Baroque festa romana, the unquestioned protagonist of handwritten and printed accounts and diaries, was not merely a sumptuous spectacle, but also an important means of political propaganda.
Rome’s celebrations related to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were, in their majority, overlooked in West-European literature on the subject, or treated marginally; unlike...
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