Maria Salviati with Giulia de Medici, c. 1539. Oil on canvas.
Jacopo Carruci called Jacopo da Pontormo, Italian active Florence, c. 1494-1556/7. Baltimore Art Museum
The little girl is believed to be Giulia de’ Medici, daughter of Duke Alessandro de’ Medici, 1511-1537, called Il Moro for his swarthy complexion.
Portrait of Alessandro de’ Medici, oil on panel, before 1535.
Pontormo (Jacopo Carucci), Italian (active Florence), 1494 – 1556/7. Philadelphia Art Museum
Her father’s mother was an African woman. She was in direct line of descent from Lorenzo the Magnificent.
Her portrait was painted over in the 19th century so that all that was left was the portrait of the woman whose hand she is holding: Maria Salviati, widow, at this time, of a military man, himself a de’ Medici. They were the parents of Cosimo de’ Medici, grand duke of Tuscany.
The portrait – one of the earliest of a person of African descent in European painting according to the Baltimore Museum – of the girl was rediscovered and restored in a 1937 cleaning.