From an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021:
An exhibition of 90 painted portraits, sculpted portraits, reliefs, books and manuscripts, medals, cameos,and drawings.
Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512-1570
Here a few painted portraits:
The artists in this post are:
Jacopo da Pontormo, 1494-1556
Pier Francesco Foschi 1502–1567
Agnolo Bronzino, 1503-1572
Francesco Salviati, 1510-1573
Giorgio Vasari, 1511-1574
The Medici constructed an image of themselves for the consumption of the citizens of Florence, their political rivals elsewhere and for their international counterparts.
The emphasis was on their legitimacy, wealth, sagacity, staying power, and cultural sophistication.
Among their image-making techniques were the portraits they commissioned of themselves and of their circle. Likewise the portraits commissioned by their political allies and proteges.
There were actual portraits; and tableaux of mythical figures in allegorical settings.
These aligned the Medici and their court with the heroism and sophisticated life narratives of these mythical heroes whose faces were, often, their own.
These associated them with the skill and finesse of poets whose works narrate these stories. Particularly Dante and Petrarch.
Many of their circle wrote poetry and they had themselves depicted often with books in their hands.
Visitors viewing Giorgio Vasari’s Six Tuscan Poets on the right and on the left, Bronzino’s portrait of Lorenzo Lenzi with a book in his hand.
While more than half the portraits in the exhibition were made by the Mannerist Agnolo Bronzino – both painter and poet – who became one of Cosimo I’s court painters in 1539,
the last work in this exhibition at the Met was an unfinished portrait of Michelangelo (1475–1564) by one of his students.
Michelangelo Buanorotti, c. 1544, oil on panel.
Daniele da Volterra, 1509-1562. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Michelangelo, the Met reminded, was a Republican at heart. He worked on the fortifications of Florence in 1529-30.
Then, refusing to work further for the Medici, he fled to Rome
to be brought back after death for burial in Florence whose art and culture in the 16th century fell entirely under his shadow.
A young man looking at Portrait of a Young Man
Portrait of a Young Man, c. 1525-26.
Jacopo da Pontormo. Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Mansi, Lucca loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
The sitter is dressed in the outfit of an usher for the governing body of republican Florence, the Signoria.
The museum suggests that the unease shown by the sitter may reflect the uncertain political times.
Lorenzo Lenzi, c. 1527-28, oil on panel.
Bronzino. Loaned by the Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, Milan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Lorenzo Lenzi was a precocious12 at the time of this portrait. His book is open to a sonnet of Petrarch and a second by the poet Benedetto Varchi to a young man with whom he was enamoured.
Portrait of a Woman with a Lapdog, c. 1532-33, oil on panel.
Bronzino. Stadel Museum, Frankfurt loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
Portrait of a Lady, c. 1530-35, oil on panel.
Pier Francesco Foschi. Museo National Thyssen-Bornemisza loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
The museum noted that portraits of women in the sixteenth century were rare. The sitter is not known.
Allegorical Portrait of Dante, c. 1532-33, oil on canvas.
Bronzino. Private collection loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
Saint Sebastian, 1532-35, oil on panel.
Bronzino. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
Portrait of a Young Man with a Book, probably mid 1530s. oil on panel.
Bronzino. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Portrait of a Man with a Book, c. 1540-41, oil on panel.
Jacopo da Pontormo. Private collection long term loan to Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli, Turin who loaned it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
photo from the net
Cardinal Rodolfo Pio da Carpi, c. 1541, oil on canvas.
Francesco Salviati. Loan by the Kunsthistorische Museum, Vienna to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
Portrait of a Girl (perhaps Isabella de Reinosa), c. 1540-41.
Bronzino. Loan by the Uffizi, Florence to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2021
Possibly the first of the ladies in waiting of the Spanish wife of Cosimo I, Eleonora de Toledo.
photo from the net
Bindo Altaviti, c. 1545, oil on marble,
Francesco Salviati. Private loan to the Metropolitan Museum in 2021
Very wealthy and influential, Bindo Altaviti was the leader of the Florentine community in Rome and played delicate politics all round until, finally, Cosimo I declared him an enemy in 1554 when he declared his support fora Farnese pope.
Carlo Rimbotti, probably 1548, oil on panel.
Francesco Salviati. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
The artist was a member of the Academia Fiorentina and employed intimate close-ups of this kind for fellow members of this academy.
The sitter was a socially ambitious medical doctor who participated in the city’s literary and political circles. He lectured on Petrarch and his son wrote verses according to the Petrarchian way.
The artist eschewed the artifice and the impression of aloofness in sitters found in the work of Bronzino and Pontormo.
Ludovico Capponi, oil on panel, c. 1550-52.
Bronzino. The Frick Collection, NY loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
photograph from the website of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa
Portrait of a Man (probably Pierantonio Bandini, c. 1550-1555, oil on panel.
Bronzino. Loaned in 2021 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa
photo from the website of the National Gallery of Art,, Washington, DC
A Young Woman and Her Little Boy, c. 1540-45, oil on panel.
Bronzino. Loaned by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
Portrait of a Man, 1544-45, oil on panel.
Francesco Salviati. From the website of the Saint Louis Art Museum who loaned this to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
The sitter is not known. His pose is based on a sculpture by Michelangelo of Lorenzo de’ Medici, Duke of Urbino, in the Medici chapel. The background has an allegorical figure representing the Arno River and while the morning glory has associations with love, the knotted curtain represents the bonds of love.
Portrait of a Young Man, Possibly Pierino da Vinci, c. 1550, oil on wood.
Bronzino. Private loan to the National Gallery, London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
photo from Scala/Art Resource, NY
Portrait of a Woman (probably Cassandra Bandini), c. 1550-55. oil on panel.
Bronzino. Loan from the Galleria Sabauda, Turin to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
Six Tuscan Poets, 1544, oil on panel.
Giorgio Vasari. Minneapolis Institute of Art loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2021
These are portraits of the main literary references of 14th century Florence: Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio and Guido Calvacanti. At left, the humanists Cristofero Landino and Marsilio Ficino.
Laura Battifiori, oil on panel. c. 1560.
Bronzino. Museo di Palacio Vecchio, Florence loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2021
A celebrated poet whose first book of poetry was dedicated to the wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici, Laura Battifiori (1523-1589) had a platonic relationship with Bronzino with whom she exchanged lyric verse.
This relationship was self-consciously modeled on that of the poet Petrarch and his beloved Laura.