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The Royal Wedding, Circa 1589

William and Kate have nothing on the preparations for the wedding of the Grand Duke Ferdinando de Medici and the Princess Christine of Lorraine. In 1589, their Florentine wedding lasted almost the entire month of May and included many newly commissioned pieces of music, theater, and even an indoor mock sea battle pitting the (inevitably victorious) Christians against the Turks. One of their possible party favors will be on view Saturday in the Art Institute’s Altered and Adorned: Using Renaissance Prints in Daily Life. This engraving of a feathered headdress by Agostino Carracci was intended to be cut out, pasted onto a support, and worn! If party-goers were not in the mood to model the virginal goddess Diana cartouche and the peeping-tom satyr below, they could swap them out for the sadder but wiser Minerva, with a dancing nymph trio and other scenes.

Cut and paste millinery has never been this much fun!

Agostino Carracci. Headpiece in the Form of a Fan, c. 1589.  Engraving on ivory laid paper, meant to be cut out and worn, with interchangeable oval vignettes. Joseph Brooks Fair Collection, 1942.250.