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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bronzino, Agnolo


Portrait of Maria de Medici, daughter of Cosimo I de Medici
1551
tempera on wood
52.5 x 38 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy

First-born of Cosimo I de Medici and Eleanora di Toledo, Maria was born in 1540 and died in 1557 at the age of seventeen.

Agnolo di Cosimo, usually known as Il Bronzino, or Agnolo Bronzino (1503 - 1572) was an Italian Mannerist painter from Florence, the son of a butcher. His sobriquet, Bronzino, in all probability refers to his relatively dark skin.

Bronzino was the outstanding artist of the Tuscan High Mannerist style. He was a court painter to Duke Cosimo I de Medici for most of his career. He produced large numbers of portraits as well as religious pictures and his work influenced the course of European court portraiture for a century.
His style is cold, refined, aristocratic, and technically brilliant in its rendering of surface details and colors. His portraits, while highly stylized in their long lines and elegant poses, achieve a formalized stillness that is the ultimate refinement of Mannerism's usually hectic quality. He was less successful as a religious painter, his lack of real feeling leading to empty, elegant posturing in which almost every one of the extraordinarily contorted poses can be traced back to Raphael or to Michelangelo, whom Bronzino idolized.
He was a much respected figure who took a prominent part in the activities of the Accademia del Disegno, of which he was a founder member in 1563. His influence on later portraiture extended to the 19th-century French master J. A. D. Ingres. Bronzino was also a poet.
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