The Medici Portraits and politics, 1512-1570

Book - 2021

Between 1512 and 1570, Florence underwent dramatic political transformations. As citizens jockeyed for prominence, portraits became an essential means not only of recording likeness but also of conveying a sitter's character, social position, and cultural ambitions. This book explores the ways that painters, including Jacopo Pontormo, Agnolo Bronzino, and Francesco Salviati, sculptors such as Benvenuto Cellini, and others, endowed Florentine portraiture with the erudite and self-consciously stylish character that made it so distinctive. Although the Medici family had ruled Florence since 1434, Cosimo I de Medici, who became the second Duke of Florence in 1537, demonstrated a particularly shrewd use of culture as a political tool to tra...nsform Florence into a dynastic duchy and give Florentine art the central position it has held ever since. Featuring 100 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and medals, this volume presents an exploration of a crucial and vibrant period in Italian art.

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Exhibition catalogs
New York, NY : The Metropolitan Museum of Art [2021]
Other Authors
Andrea Bayer (contributor), Elizabeth Cropper, 1944-, Davide Gasparotto, Sefy Hendler, 1972-, Antonella Fenech Kroke, Tommaso Mozzati, Elizabeth Pilliod, Julia Siemon, Linda Wolk-Simon
Item Description
This catalogue is published in conjunction with "The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512-1570", on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, from June 26, 2021 through October 11, 2021--Colophon.
Physical Description
327 pages : color illustrations, portraits ; 29 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 297-318) and index.
  • Power and identity in sixteenth-century Florentine portraiture / Carlo Falciani
  • Vernacular identities: the Academia Fiorentina and the poetics of portraiture / Elizabeth Cropper
  • Catalogue: From republic to Duchy, 1512-32 / Carlo Falciani
  • Politics, portraiture, and the Medici Popes, 1513-34 / Linda Wolk-Simon
  • Cosimo I de' Medici: lineage, family, and dynastic ambitions / Elizabeth Pilliod
  • A poetics of portraiture and the legacy of Dante and Petrarch / Julia Siemon
  • Cosimo and the politics of culture: reinventing Florence as a cultural capital / Sefy Hendler
  • Redecorating the Palazzo Vecchio / Antonella Fenech Kroke
  • Florence and Rome: Bronzino and Salviati / Carlo Falciani.
Review by Library Journal Review

This exhibition catalogue (accompanying a show of Renaissance portraits at New York's Met Museum) introduces readers to the 16th-century Florence ruled by the Medici family. Two introductory essays offer historical and cultural context--these are scholarly and quite dense and would be most easily read by someone with existing knowledge of the Italian Renaissance. There are also shorter, more manageable essays on the exhibition's themes (each of which introduces a section of color plates). Topics include the history, politics, and lineage of the Medici rulers; the era's debate over the use of vernacular Italian vs. Latin; the writing of Dante and Petrarch and its relation to Renaissance painting and culture; and a comparison of the artists Agnolo Bronzino and Francesco Salviati. The most readable texts in the book are the illustrated catalogue entries for each object in the exhibition (including oil paintings, drawings, sculptures, pages from books, and medallions); each entry discusses specifics of iconography, dress, and artistic style in relation to the objects. VERDICT Recommended for readers who already have some knowledge of the Italian Renaissance and want to learn more.--Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Univ. Lib., MA

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