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Angelo Bronzino Portrait of Cosimo I de Medici


Angolo di Cocimo (1503 – 1572) also known as Bronzino was an Italian late Florentine Renaissance painter, displaying the styles of Mannerism.  Mannerism concerns the style in European Art in the later years of the Italian High Renaissance (1520 – 1580) in Italy and continued to influence artists in Northern Europe, until the early seventeenth century. Stylistically it follows the line and is overshadowed by Leonardo Da Vince and Michelangelo, and is an aesthetic rebellion in art where as opposed to the balance and proportion of the early Renaissance, it exaggerates such qualities resulting in asymmetrical compositions of unnatural elegance.

Bronzino bears the influence of his tutor Pontormo, with which he collaborated during most of their careers into painting churches and portraits that they had been commissioned. Bronzito was appointed official Court painter of Cosimo I de Medici, and remained as a court painter most of his life painting portraits of the Dukes and the Medici family.  This portraiture influenced the course of European court portrait painting for a century. His portraiture shares a static, yet elegant stylish figure and are exemplary courses of illustrated haughtiness and dominance.

The artist has also been commissioned to paint frescos in churches such as the chapel of Eleanora di Toledo, where his work is approaching the mid sixteenth century Florentine aesthetics, and are highly stylized and spare emotional tension.   Apart from his religious studies he has presented mythological themes such as the celebrated “Venus, Cupid and Envy” now on display at The National Gallery in London.

Cosimo I de Medici, portrayed in the portrait by Bronzino was the Duke of Florence and an effective diplomat and influential leader.  Later he was appointed Grand Duke of Tuscany.  During the tame of the portrait, the duke had succeeded in securing a great diplomatic victory for Florence, acclaiming the leave of the Spanish garrisons stationed in the Italian city.  And at the same time asserted the dynastic continuity.

Cosimo is presented in his young years and during that celebrated moment of his victorious intelligence, and presents the warrior in the words of Giorgio Vasari: “clad with white armor and a hand over the helmet.”  The portrait is devised to show the dominant proud temperament of the Duke, in his accredited campaign and triumph. It is lighted form the side lighting the face of the man and of the eye striking glorious armor manufactured in elegance and proficiency.  The Figure stares to the left of the painting enacting his seriousness and pride due to the acquisition, and proclaiming in vigor an ease of temperament and nature. The portrait is painted over a plain and free of information background enabling the spectator to concentrate on the strenuous figure, and at the same time admire the lighting technique and temperate and densely constructed composition. The painting is undertaken with much precision and dexterity in illustrating the Duke in his strength and bravery along with his armor of radiant elegance and symbol of courage and valor.

This portrait stands as a strong noble thesis of heroism and fearlessness, in its solid robust building of the composition and the unembellished background.  It elaborates on the aristocratic origin of the Duke and reveals an era of Florentine magnanimous honor and moral of Dukes and princes, a patrician gala of habits and tradition.

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Angelo Bronzino Portrait of Cosimo I de Medici


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