The Medici Portraits and Politics, 1512-1570 Keith Christiansen, Carlo Falciani, Elizabeth Cropper, Davide Gasparotto, Sefy Hendler, Antonella Fenech Kroke, Tommaso Mozzati, Elizabeth Pilliod, Julia Siemon, Linda Wolk-Simon

Publication date:
22 Jun 2021
Metropolitan Museum of Art
336 pages: 279 x 229mm
250 color illus.

Portraits, an inherently personal subject, provide an engaging entry point to an exploration of the politics, patronage, and power in Renaissance Florence

Between 1512 and 1570, Florence underwent dramatic political transformations. As citizens jockeyed for prominence, portraits became an essential means not only of recording likeness but also of conveying a sitter’s character, social position, and cultural ambitions. This fascinating book explores the ways that painters, including Jacopo Pontormo, Agnolo Bronzino, and Francesco Salviati, sculptors such as Benvenuto Cellini, and others endowed Florentine portraiture with the erudite and self-consciously stylish character that made it so distinctive.
Although the Medici family had ruled Florence since 1434, Cosimo I de’ Medici, who became the second Duke of Florence in 1537, demonstrated a particularly shrewd use of culture as a political tool to transform Florence into a dynastic duchy and give Florentine art the central position it has held ever since. Featuring 100 remarkable paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and medals, this volume presents a sweeping, penetrating exploration of a crucial and vibrant period in Italian art.

Keith Christiansen is John Pope-Hennessy Chairman of the Department of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Carlo Falciani is an independent scholar based in Florence, Italy.