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

Cosimo il Vecchio

c. 1520
Oil on panel, 86 x 65 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Ordinarily, Pontormo painted portraits studied from life, with a deeper attention to the rendering of appearances than character and personality. The subject of this rewarding portrait is Cosimo il Vecchio, the founder of the Medici clan and the preeminent citizen of Florence during most of his explosive expansion in culture and finance in the fifteenth century. It is, of course, a posthumous representation painted, according to Vasari, for Goro Gheri da Pistoia, secretary to the Medici. It is based upon previous portraits, and particularly a medal, and is thus more a symbolic than a true physical likeness.

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