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THE FALCONIERI PROJECT

The project revolves around the study and the digital edition of a corpus of some 430 letters sent to the Roman nobleman Ottavio Falconieri between 1655 and 1675, the large majority of which were written by the Florentine prince and cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici. The letters are still unknown to scholars and the general public: they have always been in the hands of private owners and until now no one has had the opportunity to study them or even to see them. The Falconieri Project is generously funded by the Medici Archive Project’s board member Dr Howard C. Yang.

 

Ottavio Falconieri, Leopoldo de’ Medici and their correspondence

Ottavio Falconieri (1636-1675), man of culture, churchman and diplomat, spent nearly all his life in Rome, where he was in close touch with popes, cardinals, men of letters, artists and scientists. Falconieri acted as agent in Rome for Leopoldo de’ Medici (1617-1675), who had a deep interest in literature, art, and science and was one of the founders of the Accademia del Cimento, inspired by Galileo’s ideas. As a result, the letters the two men exchanged provide a priceless testimony of Florentine and Roman history in the baroque period. This interdisciplinary work combines cultural history, ecclesiastical history, art history, book history, and history of science. The topics discussed in the letters range from astronomy to scientific curiosities, from drawings to antiquities, from numismatics to literature, and the correspondence offers a vivid glimpse of society and daily life in the seventeenth century.

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This project lies at the intersection of history and digital humanities. The transcriptions of the letters are being entered into an online digital platform provided by the Medici Archive Project which is accessible to scholars and the general public around the world. Every letter has a database record including not only the transcription of the text but also all the relevant metadata related to the document: sender, recipient, date, synopsis, relevant people, places, and topics. Every document record also includes one or more digitized images of the document. The database is also provided with biographical records for all the people mentioned in the documents.

 

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