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

Cosimo I de' Medici in Armour

1545
Oil on wood, 74 x 58 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Cosimo I dei Medici (Florence 1519-1574) son of Maria Salviati and Giovanni dei Medici, called Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, was duke of Florence since 1537 and first Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1569 to his death. In this portrait he is about 25 years old, wearing his glittering armour, that points out his political ability and his power as a ruler-commander who would have enlarged and fortified the Florentine State.

This painting, slightly wooden and less polished than all the other portraits with which Bronzino consigned the members of the Medici family to posterity, must now be regarded as the original of a long series of replicas. (There are less inspired replicas in the Galleria Palatina, the gallery of Kassel and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.) Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the painting is the skilful rendering of the armour, the flashing reflections of the metal and the hand resting languidly on the helmet. It is very beautiful in the firm drawing and the hard polish of the planes to an almost metaphysical effect.