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

Deposition of Christ

1545
Oil on wood
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

By about 1540 Bronzino had undoubtedly become the darling of the Medici court and Florentine aristocracy, not least thanks to his literary talents, for he was also poet. He alternated his production of smooth, almost crystalline portraits, with noteworthy decorative schemes, such as the frescos in the Medici villas, the redecoration of the private apartments in the Palazzo Vecchio or designing tapestries for the Grand Duke. From 1560 onward, he produced more religious paintings for altars in the major Florentine churches. These reveal his limits as a painter.

This altarpiece was executed for the Chapel of Eleonora in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. The chapel is located on the second floor of the palace and it served as the private chapel of the duchess, Eleonora of Toledo, daughter of the Viceroy of Naples, and wife of Cosimo I de' Medici. The painting occupied the end wall of the small chapel flanked by St John the Baptist and St Cosmas.

The painting was finished in 1545 and was sent in the same year to Besançon to the private secretary of Emperor Charles V with whom Cosimo had important negotiations. Since 1553 a replica by Bronzino replaces the altarpiece. Later the two side panels were also replaced by the figures of an Annunciation.

The picture shows the replica of the painting.