Work-in-Progress Session: Water on the Arno: Giulio Parigi’s Designs for the 1608 Argonautica

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
4:00 pm PST – 5:30 pm PST

–presented by Laura Hutchingame, UCLA

Hosted by Helen Deutsch, Director and Professor of English, UCLA

This event is free of charge, but you must register to attend in advance. All audience members will receive instructions via email after registration. Click the following link to register directly with Zoom: https://ucla.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcsdOCsrjIrH9QeCEeKM3ZQKRKT1u08BRKT 

As part of our ongoing effort to sustain intellectual community and enable scholarly exchange, and in order to support and encourage the work many of us are doing in a range of public forums during this unprecedented time, the UCLA Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies and William Andrews Clark Memorial Library are hosting works-in-progress sessions and panel discussions online via Zoom during the 2020–21 academic year. Academic programs supported by the Center/Clark explore the latest research in the early modern period (including the long eighteenth century, which extends through the Romantic period) and in special areas represented in the Clark’s collections.

In 1608 the Medici court artist, Giulio Parigi, was tasked with designing a fleet of ceremonial ships to celebrate the marriage of Cosimo II de’ Medici and Maria Magdalena of Austria. The wedding festivities in Florence were known to be some of the most extravagant and theatrical of Medici spectacles, the stature of which grew rapidly via the printed festival books that documented the event. A crucial component of the festivities was the Argonautica, a Jason and the Argonauts-themed mock naval battle staged on the Arno River. Laura Hutchingame analyzes three of Parigi’s design drawings for apparati (processional floats or structures), all of which represent Argonautica vessels constituted by natural forms such as land formations, marine creatures, and the four elements. The aquatic forms on the apparati in particular prompt interesting questions regarding the relationship between ship design and Medici interests in natural phenomena. In this talk, she will focus on one facet of such ecological connections and examine water in Parigi’s designs alongside the river setting of the Argonautica in the context of seventeenth-century Medici environmental policy.

A synopsis of Laura’s paper will be pre-circulated to registrants.

Laura Hutchingame is a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History. Her dissertation considers the relationship between woodworking, naval architecture, and church decoration in the Venetian lagoon between 1300–1650. Broader research interests include wood sculpture, artisanal practices, process and modes of making, and intersections between material culture, decorative arts, and Art History. She holds two master’s degrees: one from UCLA in Art History, and one from the University of Toronto in History of Art. Before graduate school, Laura received a B.A. Honors with High Distinction in Art History from Carleton University.