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

Portrait of Giovanni de' Medici as a Child

1545
Tempera on wood, 58 x 45,6 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

This little smiling child has been identified as Giovanni, fourth son of the Grand Duke Cosimo I dei Medici and Eleonora di Toledo. The picture is notable for the spontaneous expression of the boy, a character that rarely can be found in Bronzino's portraits. It is also remarkable for the crispness of the line and the almost stony polish of the composition, which was probably the prototype for a large number of later replicas.

The boy is dressed in a sumptuous red satin tunic with gold trimmings. His smile reveals two small teeth and in his chubby hands, portrayed with striking naturalism, he holds a colourful little bird. The sphere pendant and the amulet he wears suggested some critics to recognize this child as his younger brother Garzia, born in 1547, to whom could maybe belong these jewels.