Sweet triumphs and fine folds – sugar sculptures and folded napkins for a royal marriage
About a month ago, after a tour of Florence with a lovely family and a guided visit of the Uffizi, I went to the Pitti Palace to visit the new exhibition that started on March 10th , Sweet triumphs and fine folds, dedicated to the refined decorations created for a famous wedding banquet. In October 1600 Mary de’ Medici became the Queen of France by marrying Henri IV of the House of Bourbon.
The exhibition is held in some of the rooms inside the Palatine Gallery. Once you enter the first room, it feels like going back in time and you will have the impression of participating at the Medici banquet held in Palazzo Vecchio on the 5th of October. Precious pottery, elegant portraits, but above all, the stars of the exhibition: the sugar sculptures that amazed me as I believe they did more than 400 years ago.
The artists at the Medici court took on the challenge of creating real works of art made of sugar, “foods decorative” to impress the snob guests from the Royal court of France. And they proved extraordinary skills in playing with sugar as if it was clay, plaster. Venus, Hercules, even the King of France on horse were some of the subjects made of sugar, chosen for this memorable event on the mouth of all Florentines and French.
For the exhibition, the Foundry del Giudice created the same statues, trying to bring to life a key event in the history of the city of Florence and its great dynasty, the Medici.
Besides the sugar sculptures, there were other fantastic decorations on the banquet table, napkins folded in the forms of all kinds of animals and birds recreated for the exhibition by the artisan Joan Sallas who carefully studied many documents from the Florentine archives in order to remake the same fine folds. Even if food was missing from the head table recreated for the exhibition, the fine decorations proved the opulence that characterized the entire reign of the Medici family in every single aspect.
If you want to visit the last residence of the Medici where also their successors, the Lorena family lived, and later the palace of the Savoia royal family, you can contact me and I will make a customized tour of Florence and a guided visit of the Palatine Gallery and the Royal Apartments.