Paintings in the Cappella di Eleonora in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence (1540-45)
by Agnolo BRONZINO

In 1540, soon after marrying Eleonora of Toledo, Cosimo de' Medici moved from the Palazzo Medici into the Palazzo della Signoria, publicly proclaiming his dominance over all civic institutions. Cosimo remodeled the building to accommodate his expanding family and commissioned elaborate decorative programs of the histories of his ancestors, of his own military conquests, and of dynastic portraiture to fill its vast spaces. On the upper floor Cosimo constructed a small cubical chapel for Eleanor's private devotions, completely decorated by Bronzino with imagery that ostensibly referred to Christian redemption but which barely veiled his dynastic and political intentions.

The wall frescoes all depict scenes from the life of Moses: the left-wall frescoes include the Miracle of the Spring (Moses Striking the Rock) and the Gathering of Manna, the right wall is covered by the fresco Crossing of the Red Sea, an uncommon subject in Christian chapels. The altarpiece currently in the chapel, depicting the Lamentation, is a replica Bronzino made in 1553 of his 1545 original (which was sent to France as a diplomatic gift and is now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Besançon). The frescoes of the vault represents Sts Michael, John the Evangelist, Jerome and Francis.

For the decoration of the chapel Bronzino applied an unusual technique: the underpainting was true fresco and the finished layer in tempera.

Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
View of the Chapel of Eleonora da Toledo
1540-45
Fresco and tempera, size of the chapel 4,9 x 3,8 m
Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

1282*900
True Color
217 Kb



View of the Chapel of Eleonora da Toledo
1540-45
Fresco and tempera, size of the chapel 4,9 x 3,8 m
Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

1051*1300
True Color
240 Kb



Altarpiece
c. 1540
Oil on canvas
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

862*1200
True Color
186 Kb



Deposition of Christ
1545
Oil on wood, 268 x 173 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie, Besançon

800*1234
True Color
127 Kb



Altarpiece
c. 1540
Oil on wood
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

1263*1000
True Color
226 Kb



The Miracle of the Spring
c. 1543
Fresco
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

1000*1373
True Color
217 Kb



The Miracle of the Spring (detail)
c. 1543
Fresco
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

898*1300
True Color
204 Kb



Gathering of the Manna
c. 1543
Fresco
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

1003*1300
True Color
219 Kb



Crossing of the Red Sea
c. 1542
Fresco
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

1390*900
True Color
212 Kb



Crossing of the Red Sea (detail)
c. 1540
Fresco
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

1065*1300
True Color
213 Kb



Miracle of the Brazen Serpent
c. 1542
Fresco
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

1389*900
True Color
195 Kb



Vault decoration
c. 1541
Fresco
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

1056*1300
True Color
226 Kb



Vault decoration (detail)
c. 1541
Fresco
Cappella di Eleonora, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

1006*1300
True Color
213 Kb



Modello for the vault decoration
c. 1540
Pen with black and brown ink, brush with brown wash on blue-gray prepared paper, 343 x 262 mm
Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt

1000*1235
True Color
238 Kb




Summary of paintings by Bronzino
| Medici portraits | other portraits | religious | Cappella di Eleonora | allegories |