AT THE COURT OF THE MEDICI

On 14 November 2012, Italian tradition encountered Parisian luxury: the Magliabechiano Room, a sumptuous showcase for some of the rarest books in Italy, provided the setting for a donation of a copy of the limited edition tome Goyard, Malletier. Maison fondée en 1792 to the Uffizi Library in Florence.

Florence, cradle of Italy’s artistic heritage, is the natural home for this timeless and painstakingly crafted work, featuring specially made Arches vellum paper, traditional lead typesetting, and a custom-made Goyard case that forms its binding.

On the occasion of this donation, the director of the Uffizi Library, Claudio di Benedetto, gave us an exclusive tour of the Vasari Corridor, masterwork of the great sixteenth century architect Giorgio Vasari. This elevated passageway, an architectural marvel around one kilometre in length commissioned by Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici to celebrate the marriage of his son Francesco with Joanna of Austria, has remained unaltered over the centuries. Built in less than five months in 1565, it still links the Uffizi to the Palazzo Pitti, the royal palace of the Medici and sometime home to the exiled princess Elisa Bonaparte and members of the House of Savoy.

Affording astonishing panoramic views of the Arno, the corridor was used for three centuries as a private gallery of paintings reserved for the erudite pleasure of the royal elite; it only opened its doors to the public in 1866. Its stunning collection of sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century paintings, its grandiose gallery of artists’ self-portraits, and the frescoes adorning its vaulted staircases make it a unique and exceptional place.

The Vasari Corridor has been closed to the public for years, and remains one of the best kept secrets of Florence. With the fleur de lys as their  shared emblem, Italian tradition and Parisian luxury come together as Goyard, Malletier. Maison fondée en 1792 takes up its rightful place in the carefree history of capricious taste: a history of excellence that is also a paradigm for contemplating the world at large.

Pierre Tzenkoff, Goyard, Malletier. Maison fondée en 1792, Paris, Devambez, 2010