BRONZINO, Agnolo
(b. 1503, Firenze, d. 1572, Firenze)

Bia, The Illegitimate Daughter of Cosimo I de' Medici

c. 1542
Oil on wood, 63 x 48 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

The painting portrays Bia, one of the two illegitimate daughters of Cosimo I, who died in 1542 when she was only five years old. It is one of the loveliest portraits executed by Bronzino for the Medici family. The girl, who wears a medallion with the profile of Cosimo around her neck, is portrayed with an expression of lucid fixity, in perfect accord with the enchanted happiness of childhood, and her very slight smile creates a magical air of suspense. The background, abstract as in many other portraits by Bronzino, is of an almost enamelled lapis lazuli.