Cabinet cité par John Evelyn (1646), Pierre Borel (1649) et par Huguetan (1681).
- Ce cabinet fait partie du catalogue donné par Pierre Borel à la suite de ses Antiquitez… de la Ville, et Comté de Castres d’Albigeois, p. 124 à 131, sous le titre de Roole des principaux cabinets curieux, et autres choses remarquables qui se voyent ez principales Villes de l’Europe.
Pierre Borel mentionne pour la ville de Florence :
La Galerie du Grand Duc. »
- Cette galerie est encore citée dans le Voyage d’Italie curieux et nouveau… d’Huguetan, p. 30 à 32 :
« Ce qu’il y a de plus beau dans ce Palais, ce sont les deux Galeries et la grande sale des ceremonies, qu’ils appellent lo stanzone, qui a 80 pas communs de longueur et 65 de largeur. Les pincipales actions de Cosme, Premier Grand Duc, sont peintes en grand sur les murailles. Les deux Galeries sont garnies de plus de 200 statues de marbre la pluspart antiques.[…] Il y a parmy ces statues quelques inscriptions en marbre, que le Cardinal de Medicis a autrefois fait apporter du costé de Tunis : car c’estoit un Seigneur fort amateur de l’antiquité. Des Galeries on passe dans les chambres où l’on fait voir le Thresor du Grand Duc, et des tableaux, et autres curiositez : comme entr’autres un tres bel aimant, une arquebuze d’or massif, des armes prises sur les Turcs par les Galeres de son Altesse, et mille autres bijous precieux. On y void des Portraits d’hommes illustres.
Je ne pus point voir ny dans les Galeries, ny dans le Cabinet des Armes, ny dans celuy des curiositez, ny mesme dans les Bibliotheques de S. Laurent et du Grand Duc, les Pandectes Florentines manuscrites dont on fait grand estat. »
- John Evelyn la mentionne en 1644 :
In the Church of Santo Spirito the altar and reliquary are most rich, and full of precious stones ; there are four pillars of a kind of serpentine, and some of blue. Hence we went to another Palace of the Duke’s, called Palazzo Vecchio, before which is a statue of David, by Michael Angelo, and one of Hercules, killing Cacus, the work of Baccio Bandinelli. The quadrangle about this is of the Corinthian order, and in the hall are many rare marbles, as those of Leo the Tenth and Clement VII., both Popes of the Medicean family ; also the acts of Cosmo, in rare painting. In the chapel is kept (as they would make one believe) the original Gospel of St. John, written with his own hand ; and the famous Florentine Pandects, and divers precious stones. Near it is another pendent Tower like that of Pisa, always threatening ruin. Hence we go to the Public Court of Justice, under which is a stately Arcade for men to walk in; and over that the shops of divers rare Artists, who continually work for the Great Duke; and above this that so renowned Ceimeliarcha or Repository where in are divers hundreds of admirable Antiquities, Statues of Marble and Metal, Vases of Porphyrie etc, but amongst the statues none so famous as the Scipio, the boare, etc. The idol of Apollo brought from the Delphic Temple, and two triumphant Columnes: Over this hand the Pictures of the famous Persons and Illustrious men, whither excelling in Arts or Arms to the number of 300, taken out of the Musaeum of Paulus Jovius; Then they lead us into a large square room, in the middle whereof stood a Cabinet of an octangular form so adorned and furnished with Christals, Achat, Sculptures etc as certainly exceeds any description. Upon it is a globe of Ivory rarely carved, Hercules his Labours in Massy Silver, and many incomparable Pictures in small. Likewise another which had about it eight oriental columns of Alabaster, on each whereof was placed a head of a Caesar, covered with a Canopy so richly beset with precious Stones, that they resembled a firmament of Stars. This Cabinet was valued at 2 hundred thousand crownes; within was our Saviours Passion, and 12 Apostles of incomparable Amber. In another with Calcidon Pillars was a Series of Golden Medalls. In this Cabinet is called the Tribuna, in which is a pearl as big as a hazel nut: the Cabinet is of Ebony, Lazuli and Jasper. Over the door a round of M. Angelo, on the Cabinet Leo the tenth with other paintings of Raphael, del Sartos, Perugino & Coregio viz. a St John, a Virgin, a boy, two Apostles and two heads of Durer, rarely carved. Here is another rich Ebony Cabinet, Cupolaed with a tortoise shell and containing a Collection of gold Medalls esteemed worth 50 000 crownes, a wreathed Pillar of oriental Alabaster, divers Paintings of da Vinci, Pontorno, del Sarto, an Ecce homo of Titian, a boy of Bronzini etc. They also showed us a branch of Corall fixed on the rock which they affirm does still grow.
In another room is kept the Tabernacle appointed for the Chapel of St Laurence, about which are placed divers small statues of Saints of precious materials, a piece of art and cost, as having been these 40 years in perfecting, is certainly one of the most curious and rare things in the world.
Here were divers incomparable tables of Pietra Commessa, which is a marble ground inlaid with several sorts of marbles and stones of divers couloirs, in the shapes of flowers, trees, beasts, birds and landskips like the natural: in one is represented the town of Ligorne, by the same hand who inlays the altar of St Laurence, Dominico Benotti of whom I purchased nineteen pieces of the same work for a Cabinet. In a Press near theses they showed us an Iron-naile, one harp whereof being converted into gold by one Thurnheuser a German Chymist, is looked on as a great rarity (but is plainly appears to have been but smothered). There is a curious Watch, a monstrous Turcois as big as an Egg, on which is engraven an Emperor head.
From hence we went into the Armory, where is conserved many antique habits, as that of the Chineze kings, the Sword of Charlemain; an Italian lock for their wanton Wives or jealous Husbands; Hanibals headpiece, and a huge Load-stone (of a yard long) of that Vertue as it bears up 86 pounds weight very well (in a chain of 17 links, such as the slaves are tied to). In the Press of another room they showed us such rare turneries in Ivory, as are not to be described for their curiosity: likewise fair Pillars of Oriental Alabaster, and 12 vast and complete Services of Silver plates, and one of Gold; all of them of incomparable workmanship; besides a rich embroidered Saddle of pearls sent by the Emp: to this Duke (and here is that embroidered chair set with precious stones, that he sits in when on St John’s day he receives the Tribute of the Cities. […]
At the Duke’s Cavalerizza, the Prince has a stable of the finest horses of all countries, Arabs, Turks, Barbs, Gennets, English, &c., which are continually exercised in the manège.
Near this is a place where are kept several wild beasts, as wolves, cats, bears, tigers, and lions. They are loose in a deep walled court, and therefore to be seen with more pleasure than those at the tower of London, in their grates. One of the lions leaped to a surprising height, to catch a joint of mutton which I caused to be hung down.
(The diary of John Evelyn, Ed. William Bray, J.M. DENT et E.P DULTON, London-New York, 1905, Tome I, p.92-93 et p.95-96 / éd. De BEER, E.S., Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1955, vol. 2, p. 188-193)