Literary Connection

The Archinto were at the center of intellectual life in Milan. Their palazzo was particularly celebrated in the eighteenth century for its comprehensive library, which was overseen by their librarian, Filippo Argelati. The library comprised five rooms and was open to scholars. Together with Carlo Archinto and a number of other patrons, Argelati had founded the Società Palatina, a publishing enterprise that was particularly active in the 1730s. Between 1723 and 1751, the Società published Ludovico Antonio Muratori’s Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, to which Carlo Archinto contributed, both with financing and with notes to one of the volumes. Tiepolo provided a number of designs for volumes published by the Società Palatina. His biographer, Vincenzo Da Canal, noted in 1732, “printmakers and copyists seek to engrave his [Tiepolo’s] works and obtain his inventive and whimsical designs.” Printed illustrations were often included in the Società’s books; Muratori had commented that they “get the ignorant to buy books.”
  • Frontispiece of a book with illustration of two coats of arms being carried by eagles and putti.

    Dedication Page for Filippo Argelati's Le Ode di Anacreonte (Milan, 1731)
    Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, Milan
    Su concessione del Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo; photo Mauro Ranzani

     

    This book was produced as a wedding gift to Filippo Archinto and Giulia Borromeo, who married on April 22, 1731. Filippo Argelati, the Archinto family librarian, chose to dedicate to the couple some "amorous compositions": the Odes by Anacreon. The preface of the book opens with the two families' coats of arms (Archinto on the left and Borromeo on the right). Antonio Gantelmi also published a short poem for the new couple, dedicating it to Carlo Archinto and Giovanni Borromeo, the fathers of the groom and bride.

  • Frontispiece of a book.

    Frontispiece for Antonio Gantelmi's Epitalamio per le nozze di sue eccellenze li signori Don Filippo Archinto e Donna Giulia Contessa Borromeo (Milan, 1731)
    Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, Milan Su concessione del Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo; photo Mauro Ranzani

     

    Antonio Gantelmi published this short poem as a wedding gift to Filippo Archinto and Giulia Borromeo, who married on April 22, 1731. He dedicated it to Carlo Archinto and Giovanni Borromeo, the fathers of the groom and bride. 

  • Drawing from a fresco cycle.

    Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    Presentation of a Decapitated Head and the Keys to the City
    Drawn for Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores,
    ca. 1725–30
    Black chalk reworked with traces of red chalk on white paper
    3 × 6 1/8 in. (75 × 155 mm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY

  • Drawing of a procession of men holding torches, a banner, and a crucifix.

    Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    The Italian Flagellant Movement
    Drawn for Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, ca. 1725–30
    Black chalk on white paper
    3 1/8 × 6 1/2 in. (80 × 166 mm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY

  • Drawing of several figures arranged around a table.

    Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    The Assassination of Count Ghiazolo in Rimini in 1326
    Drawn for Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores,
    ca. 1725–30
    Black chalk on white paper
    2 7/8 × 6 1/8 in. (74 × 157 mm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY

  • Drawing of a coronation scene.

    Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    The Coronation of Henry VII in Milan in 1311
    Drawn for Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores,
    ca. 1725–30
    Black chalk on white paper
    3 × 6 1/8 in. (77 × 156 mm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY

     
  • Frontispiece of a book with two columns of text and and image at the top of the page.

    Francesco Zucchi (1672–1750) after Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    The Coronation of Henry VII in Milan in 1311
    From Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores (Milan, 1723–51), vol. 16
    Columbia University Libraries, Columbia University in the City of New York
    Columbia University Libraries, Columbia University in the City of New York

     

    Tiepolo provided delicate designs for a number of engravings by Francesco Zucchi for many of the volumes of Muratori's Rerum Italicarum Scriptores. One of the headpieces of volume 16 relates to the text it introduces: an anonymous account of the history of Milan. Tiepolo depicted the coronation of Emperor Henry VII as King of Italy, which took place in Milan on January 6, 1311. The original drawing for this print is also shown in the exhibition.

  • Drawing of soldiers storming a battlement.

    Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    Siege of a City
    Drawn for Carlo Sigonio, Opera Omnia, 1730–31
    Black chalk on white paper
    2 7/8 × 6 in. (73 × 151 mm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY

     
  • Drawing of two men and two carts being pulled by oxen.

    Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    The Exchange of Ox Carts between Parma and Cremona in 1281
    Drawn for Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores,
    ca. 1725–30
    Black chalk on white paper
    3 × 6 in. (76 × 154 mm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
     © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY

     
  • Frontispiece of a book.

    Francesco Zucchi (1672–1750) after Francesco Zugno (1709–1787)
    Alberico Archinto and an Allegory of the Catholic Faith
    From Carlo Sigonio, Opera Omnia (Milan, 1732–37), headpiece for vol. 5
    Columbia University Libraries, Columbia University in the City of New York

     

    Carlo's son, Alberico Archinto, pursued an ecclesiastical career and was among the scholars who annotated parts of the Rerum Italicarum Scriptores and supported the Società Palatina. The fifth volume of Sigonio's Opera Omnia was dedicated to Alberico, whose portrait, accompanied by an allegory of the Catholic Faith, appears on the headpiece. This was designed by Tiepolo's pupil and collaborator, Francesco Zugno, whose original drawings for this print are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Castello Sforzesco, Milan.

  • Drawing of an army surrounding a walled city.

    Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    Siege of a City
    Drawn for Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores,
    ca. 1725–30
    Black chalk on white paper
    4 3/8 × 7 1/2 in. (112 × 192 mm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY

     

    The preparatory drawings Tiepolo made to accompany the medieval texts collected by Muratori in Rerum Italicarum Scriptores represent scenes from Italian history. Many of the events depicted cannot be precisely identified, however, and on more than one occasion, the drawings are used multiple times, to illustrate different events.

  • Drawing of a victorious emperor surrounded by his army, horsemen, and musicians.

    Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    Triumph of a Roman Emperor
    Drawn for Carlo Sigonio, Opera Omnia, 1730–31
    Black chalk reworked with traces of red chalk on white paper
    4 3/8 × 7 1/2 in. (110 × 191 mm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY

     
  • Frontispiece of book featuring an image of a triumphant ruler, surrounded by an army, horsemen, and musicians.

    Francesco Zucchi (1672–1750) after Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    Triumph of a Roman Emperor
    From Carlo Sigonio, Opera Omnia (Milan, 1732–37), headpiece for vol. 1
    Columbia University Libraries, Columbia University in the City of New York

     

    One of the publications produced by the Società Palatina was the six-volume Opera Omnia, the collected works of the sixteenth-century historian Carlo Sigonio. The headpiece for the first volume — representing the triumph of an ancient Roman emperor as he is carried by his generals to a tent — is based on a drawing by Tiepolo.

  • Print of an allegorical female figure presenting a book to a bust of a man.

    Francesco Zucchi (1672–1750) after Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    Italy Presenting the Volume to Charles VI
    From Francesco Mediobarbo Birago, Imperatorum Romanorum Numismata (Milan, 1730), frontispiece
    Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley

     

    The Imperatorum Romanorum Numismata, dedicated to Emperor Charles VI in Vienna, was the last of the Società Palatina volumes with which Tiepolo was involved. Its subject is the study made by Francesco Mediobarbo, Count of Birago, of two hundred thirty-five ancient Roman coins, dating from the age of Pompey to the age of Emperor Heraclius. The frontispiece features the personification of Italy presenting the book to the emperor, shown in the form of a bust against a background of ancient ruins. Fame, above, plays a trumpet decorated with the Hapsburg's double-headed eagle, while Time is fast asleep in the lower part. The print is signed prominently at the bottom by both Tiepolo and the printer Francesco Zucchi, no doubt because of its imperial dedication.