(b. ca. 1482, Firenze, d. 1525, Firenze)

The Triumph of Cicero

c. 1520
Fresco, 580 x 530 cm
Villa Medici, Poggio a Caiano

Franciabigio enjoyed a close relationship with the Medici. He was the artist given the commission about 1520 by Giulio de' Medici for the entire cycle of frescoes at Poggio a Caiano, which he was expected to divide with Andrea del Sarto and Pontormo. Like Sarto, he frescoed one of the larger and more prominent lower fields in the room. His Triumph of Cicero is based on Plutarch in which the 'Pater Patriae', following a period of exile, is carried by a vigorous frieze of figures to the Capitoline reconstructed above in the background - an apparent allusion to Cosimo il Vecchio's return from Milan from his own exile. The fresco takes its place comfortably alongside what are now the more celebrated images by Andrea del Sarto and Pontormo, which together evoke the notion of a Medici Golden Age in an impressive private setting outside Florence. Like Sarto's, this fresco has lateral additions by Alessandro Allori in the right half.