Studio of Jean Petitot (French, 1607-1691) Anna Maria Luisa de'Medici, Electress Palatine (1667-1743), wearing white chemise, white décolleté dress with gold embroidery and bejewelled clasps to her bodice, blue cloak decorated with the Florentine fleurs-de-lis and trimmed with ermine, her dark hair curled and piled high on top of her head
Lot 10
Studio of Jean Petitot
(French, 1607-1691)
Anna Maria Luisa de'Medici, Electress Palatine (1667-1743), wearing white chemise, white décolleté dress with gold embroidery and bejewelled clasps to her bodice, blue cloak decorated with the Florentine fleurs-de-lis and trimmed with ermine, her dark hair curled and piled high on top of her head
£1,800 - 2,200
US$ 2,900 - 3,500

Lot Details
Studio of Jean Petitot (French, 1607-1691)
Anna Maria Luisa de'Medici, Electress Palatine (1667-1743), wearing white chemise, white décolleté dress with gold embroidery and bejewelled clasps to her bodice, blue cloak decorated with the Florentine fleurs-de-lis and trimmed with ermine, her dark hair curled and piled high on top of her head.
Enamel, rectangular gilt-metal frame with engraved foliate decoration.
Oval, 34mm (1 5/16in) high

Footnotes

  • One of the central figures in the final act of the Medici saga, Anna Maria Luisa could have succeeded as heir to the Tuscan throne had her father's efforts to alter the male-only line of succession not been met with such fierce opposition from the power houses of Europe. Anna Maria was the middle child and only daughter of Cosimo III de' Medici (1642-1723), Grand Duke of Tuscany and Marguerite Louise d'Orléans (1645-1721), a niece of Louis XIII of France.

    Her parents' marriage was tumultuous resulting in Marguerite abandoning her husband and children for the Convent of Montmartre, France in 1675. Despite the permanent physical separation from her mother, Marguerite's reputation as a difficult wife spread like wild fire throughout the Royal houses of Europe and branded her daughter a bad choice. Following refusals of marriage from Spain, Portugal, France and Savoy, the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I, suggested Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine (1658-1716) as a husband for the Princess. Johann and Anna Maria were subsequently married by proxy on 29 April 1691. The Electress miscarried a child the following year and it is believed she contracted syphilis from her husband, which would explain why the couple never produced any heirs. The union was however a happy one. Johann commissioned a theatre for his wife where the comedies of Molière were performed. Anna Maria's patronage resulted in the Palatine court being regarded as something of a Mecca for musicians and a centre of excellence.

    Following the death of his eldest son, Ferdinando (1663-1713), Cosimo submitted a bill to the Senate, proposing that Anna Maria would become Grand Duchess of Tuscany in the event that he and his new heir, Gian Gastone (1671-1737), predeceased her. The notion infuriated the new Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI on the grounds that he alone possessed the prerogative to alter the laws of succession. After the death of her husband, Anna Maria returned to Florence, where she enjoyed the rank of first lady alongside her elder brother's widow, the Dowager Grand Princess Violante Beatrice, until the accession of her younger brother, Gian Gastone in 1723. After years of counter proposals being thrown in and out of the 'Tuscan question', European powers appointed Francis Stephen of Lorraine (1708-1765) as heir to the throne in 1735 and he duly ascended as Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor and Grand Duke of Tuscany upon the death of Gian Gastone two years later. A position as nominal Regent was proposed to the widowed Electress, an offer to which Anna Maria flatly declined.

    Having inherited her brother's estate, the Electress bequeathed the Medici's art collection and treasures to the Tuscan State. Amassed over the course of nearly three centuries and housed in the Uffizi, the Palazzo Pitti and the family's many villas, Anna Maria single-handedly secured Tuscany's future economy, particularly that of Florence, for generations to come; a legacy that is still being enjoyed by millions of tourists today. Her brothers' lack of issue combined with her own meant that her death in 1743 permanently extinguished the reign of the Medici - an outcome that would have been deemed inconceivable at the height of her ancestors' power and fame.
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