Thursday, October 7, 2021

The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512-1570

Portrait of Laura Battiferri by Bronzino

Medici painters were bookish. Bronzino’s “Portrait of Laura Battiferri” epitomizes many of the key elements of "The Medici: Portraits and Politics,1512-1570," running until October llth at the Met.  The painters subject presses her fingers into a book of Petrarch’s sonnets. Her gaze is stark and determined.  In Bronzino’s "Portrait of a Young Man With a Book” the figure is holding an unidentified volume that’s also thought to be poetry. This time the painter's subject stares at the viewer, as his fingers hold his place. In Pontormo’s “Portrait of Two Friends” there is a similar iconography with the hand of one of the figures pointing to a selection from Cicero’s “On Friends.” The l0 year old in Bronzino’s “Portrait of Francesco di Medici,” holds a letter in his hands. But who is the young boy writing to and what is the significance? These words and emblematic characters constitute a celebration, not only of a new political order but of the Renaissance itself in all its synesthetic glory. 

Read "Tuscany Journal: Settiponti" by Francis Levy, The Screaming Pope.

and catch Giulio Caccini's Ave Maria

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