PARIGI, Giulio
(b. 1571, Firenze, d. 1635, Firenze)

Biography

Giulio Parigi was part of an Italian family of architects and stage designers. The architect Alfonso di Santi Parigi, known as il Francia (c. 1535-1590), was the nephew of Bartolomeo Ammanati and succeeded Giorgio Vasari as head of the Fabbrica degli Uffizi in 1574. His son Giulio Parigi studied and worked with him, Ammanati and Bernardo Buontalenti.

Giulio's initial fame came from his landscape sketches, his frescoes (1599) in the Uffizi and the Accademia he established (c. 1598-c. 1629) on the Via Maggio in Florence, where he taught geometry, perspective, draughtsmanship, mechanics, and civil and military architecture. His most celebrated students included Cosimo de' Medici (later Grand Duke Cosimo II), who subsequently engaged Giulio to create numerous stage sets and festival designs for such proto-operas (intermezzi) as Il giudizio di Paride (1608), La liberazione di Tirreno e d'Arnea (1617) and La regina Sant'Orsola (1624), as well as for such court feste as L'argonautica (1608), La guerra d'amore (1616) and La battaglia del re Tessi e del re Tinta (1619). In these magnificent sets Parigi synthesized the various arts, displayed technical and mechanical virtuosity, including dynamic lighting, and interwove the stage and audience space. These vigorous theatrical designs were the earliest manifestation of the Baroque in Florence.

Parigi's influence appears in the masque designs of Inigo Jones, who may have met him, and in the etchings of Jacques Callot and the theatrical designs of Stefano della Bella, who both worked with Parigi, as well as those of Josef Furttenbach the Elder.