Artibus et Historiae no. 49 (XXV)

2004, ISSN 0391-9064

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JANET COX-REARICK, MARY WESTERMAN BULGARELLA - Public and Private Portraits of Cosimo I de' Medici and Eleonora di Toledo: Bronzino's Paintings of his Ducal Patrons in Ottawa and Turin

This article is a study of the portraits of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici and his Spanish consort, Duchess Eleonora di Toledo, a subject that has not been undertaken in modern scholarship. The majority of these are by their court portraitist, Agnolo Bronzino (1503-1572), whose state portraits (now in collections in Florence, Turin, Philadelphia, Prague, Pisa, Sydney, and Washington) expressed the ideals of the Medici court and the duke's "politica culturale". Others who portrayed the ducal couple were the miniaturist, Giulio Clovio, the painter, Il Tosini, and the sculptors Cellini, Bandinelli, Poggini, Rossi, Del Tadda, and Compagni. The authors present evidence for the inclusion of two of Bronzino's acknowledged masterworks in portraiture of the early 1550s in this group of ducal portraits" the Portrait of a Lady (Turin, Galleria Sabauda) and the Portrait of a Gentleman (Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada). The multifaceted evidence discussed includes a study of the physical properties of the paintings, comparisons with Bronzino's other portraits of the ducal couple (including some using comparative computer imaging), and a consideration of them in the context of Bronzino's workshop practice in the production of Medici portraits. The authors also make a detailed study of the sitters' attire and accessories, which supports the conclusion that they are indeed the Medici couple.

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