(b. 1494, Pontormo, d. 1557, Firenze)

Portrait of Maria Salviati

Oil on wood, 87 x 71 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Maria Salviati (1499-1543) was an Italian noblewoman, the daughter of Lucrezia di Lorenzo de' Medici and Jacopo Salviati. She married Giovanni dalle Bande Nere and was the mother of Cosimo I de' Medici. Her husband died November 30, 1526, leaving her a widow at the age of 27. Salviati never remarried; after her husband's death she adopted the somber garb of a novice, which is how she is remembered today as numerous late portraits show her attired in black and white.

Pontormo portrayed the mother of his principal patron Cosimo I de' Medici, as a dignified, pious, grieving widow. Pure blacks and filmy whites set off the lady's flesh tones in the painting.