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

Cosimo I de' Medici in Profile

Black chalk, 421 x 215 mm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

This portrait shows Cosimo I de' Medici at about eighteen years old, just after he came to power on January 9, 1537, and before he grew a beard, probably later that year. This design was transferred to a panel, now in the Galleria Palatina in Palazzo Pitti. The profile view suggests that the drawing was a study for a sculpture or coin commission. Indeed, the same view of Cosimo appears in a marble relief from the workshop of Baccio Bandinelli and in a number of medals and coins meant to diffuse the image of the young ruler.

After the duke's official image was painted by Bronzino in 1544, Pontormo no longer needed the drawing, so he used the verso to draw a group of nudes for the murals of San Lorenzo in Florence, a project that he worked on from 1545 to the end of his life.