Medici Women: Portraits of Power, Love and Betrayal from the Court of Duke Cosimo I

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University of Toronto Press, 2006 - Art - 372 pages
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The ducal court of Cosimo I de' Medici in sixteenth-century Florence was one of absolutist, rule-bound order. Portraiture especially served the dynastic pretensions of the absolutist ruler, Duke Cosimo and his consort, Eleonora di Toledo, and was part of a Herculean programme of propaganda to establish legitimacy and prestige for the new sixteenth-century Florentine court.

In this engaging and original study, Gabrielle Langdon analyses selected portraits of women by Jacopo Pontormo, Agnolo Bronzino, Alessandro Allori, and other masters. She defines their function as works of art, as dynastic declarations, and as encoded documents of court culture and propaganda, illuminating Cosimo's conscious fashioning of his court portraiture in imitation of the great courts of Europe. Langdon explores the use of portraiture as a vehicle to express Medici political policy, such as with Cosimo's Hapsburg and Papal alliances in his bid to be made Grand Duke with hegemony over rival Italian princes.

Stories from archives, letters, diaries, chronicles, and secret ambassadorial briefs, open up a world of fascinating, personalities, personal triumphs, human frailty, rumour, intrigue, and appalling tragedies. Lavishly illustrated, Medici Women: Portraits of Power, Love and Betrayal in the Court of Duke Cosimo I is an indispensable work for anyone with a passion for Italian renaissance history, art, and court culture.

 

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Page 343 - Memoirs of the house of Medici, from its origin to the death of Francesco the second, grand duke of Tuscany, and of the great men who flourished in Tuscany within that period. From the french of Mr. Tenhove, with notes and observations by sir Richard Clayton, bart.
Page 345 - National Gallery of Art. Report and Studies in the History of Art», Washington 1967, pp.
Page 11 - If the poet says that he can inflame men with love, which is the central aim in all animal species, the painter has the power to do the same, and to an even greater degree, in that he can place in front of the lover the true likeness of that which is beloved, often making him kiss and speak to it. This would never happen with the same beauties set before him by the writer.

About the author (2006)

Gabrielle Langdon is an independent scholar and former curator who has taught Renaissance art history in Europe, the United States, and Canada.

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