• Portrait of Cosimo I de' Medici

    Artist:
    Bronzino, Angelo (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano). 1503-1572
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    117,5x87,5 cm

Bronzino, Angelo (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano). 1503-1572

Portrait of Cosimo I de' Medici

Italy, 1537

You are looking now at work by an outstanding Mannerist artist – Angelo Bronzino, a pupil of Pontormo. Cosimo I de’ Medici became Duke of Florence at the age of 17. An artful politician and tyrannical ruler, in time he turned the city-state into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and concentrated complete and absolute power in his hands. This painting is an allegory of the “most fortunate of states”, flourishing thanks to Cosimo’s virtues, justice and success. In his hand the young man is holding a gold medal that bears an effigy of the winged goddess Fortuna. The books scattered at her feet represent a call to wise government. The rock behind the Duke is an allusion to the stability of his power. The blazing fire symbolizes the invisible presence of God, who favours the Medicis, and refers the viewer to the passage in the Bible that says of the people of Israel being led out of Egypt by Moses: “And the Lord went before them … by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.” This portrait has high artistic merits. The dark red background and the black coat with a white collar and cuffs strikingly emphasize the Duke’s face and delicate aristocratic hands, which seem to have been moulded by the soft chiaroscuro. The young man’s haughty, masterful features and sharp gaze that bars the viewer from penetrating into his inner world bring a sense of coldness and disquiet into a work that is ablaze with fiery colours.

School:

Title:

Portrait of Cosimo I de' Medici

Place:

Date:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

117,5x87,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1850; acquired at the auction of the art collection of Willem II, King of the Netherlands, Hague

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-1512

Category:

Collection:

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