BUTTERI, Giovanni Maria
(b. ca. 1540, Firenze, d. ca. 1606, Firenze)

Virgin and Child with St Anne and Members of the Medici Family as Saints

Oil on panel, 192 x 140 cm
Cenacolo di Andrea del Sarto, Florence

This unusual painting portrays a Sacra Conversazione (Holy Conversation), in which members of the grand ducal family represent the various saints. This includes personages who had died some time earlier, such as Eleonora of Toledo who died in 1562, here portrayed as the Virgin, or St Cosmas, interpreted by Grand Duke Cosimo I who died a year before the painting was undertaken. Others were still alive, such as Grand Duke Francesco I who succeeded his father in 1574, here seen as St George, Cardinal Ferdinando is St Damian, and their sister Isabella de' Medici is St Catherine of Alexandria.