(b. 1493, Firenze, d. 1560, Firenze)


Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

The first of the great undertakings contemplated by Cosimo I was for the Udienza, or stage, in the Salone del Cinquecento in the Palazzo della Signoria (Palazzo Vecchio), which Cosimo had taken over as his residence.

The Udienza is a raised platform for public audiences at one end of the Salone. The interior of the northerly window wall and the adjacent flanking walls was given a revetment of marble niches in which were ensconced statues of prominent members of the new Medici dynasty, to bolster the legitimacy of its claims to power: Cosimo himself, his predecessor and father and the two popes. That of Alessandro was flatteringly derived from Donatello's marble St George (Florence, Bargello) but is risibly inferior to it in conviction and characterization, while the sculptor did not achieve much greater success with such of the other statues as he actually began, or delivered, between 1542 and 1547: once again, the project had to be brought to completion later on by other sculptors (e.g. Giovanni Battista Caccini and Vincenzo de' Rossi).

In the picture Pope Leo X is in the centre, Giovanni delle Bande Nere at left, and Alessandro de'Medici at right.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.