Agnolo Bronzino's Most Famous Paintings
Who was Agnolo Bronzino?
Agnolo di Cosimo generally known as Bronzino was an Italian Mannerist painter from Florence. He lived his entire life in Florence, and from his late 30s was employed as the court painter of Cosimo I de' Medici, for Grand Duke of Tuscany. He was, for the most part, a portraitist and painted numerous noble subjects and a couple of figurative legends.
He studied with Pontormo, the main Florentine painter of Mannerism art, and his style was incredibly impacted by him.
So without further ado, here are 10 of Agnolo Bronzino's most famous paintings:
- Portrait of Eleanor of Toledo by Bronzino
- Portrait of Cosimo I de' Medici by Bronzino
- Portrait of Bia de' Medici by Bronzino
- Portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi by Bronzino
- A Young Woman and Her Little Boy by Bronzino
- Don Garcia de' Medici by Bronzino
- The Panciatichi Holy Family by Bronzino
- Portrait of a Young Man with a Book by Bronzino
- Deposition of Christ by Bronzino
- Holy Family with St. Anne and the infant St. John the Baptist by Bronzino
Agnolo Bronzino Artworks
The portrait depicts the noble, Cosimo's first wife, and the daughter of the Viceroy of Naples. A historically important but disturbing detail was discovered in 1857. On that date, the tomb of Eleonora of Toledo was opened. The dress in which her body was found turned out to be the one painted in Bronzino's painting. This historical evidence made critics of the time think that the painting was made after the death of the noble.
The figures are drawn with great accuracy and sharpness of outlines. This characteristic was typical of Florentine artists who preferred drawing over tonalism.
The taking care of the details can be noticed in the dress and the jewels of the noble; even the faces are depicted with great clarity, the color of the skin and the surfaces of the face appear to be of marble or ivory.
The complete title of the work is "Portrait of Cosimo de 'Medici in armor" and depicts the famous Duke of Florence who later became Grand Duke of the Kingdom of Tuscany.
The protagonist is represented in the center of the portrait with his body turned to the right but his face and gaze to the left. The Duke wears very elaborate metal armor that leaves only his right-hand free resting on the helmet. The head is also uncovered and the dark hair blends into the background. The Duke's expression is serious and determined and his gaze seems to be turned away. Finally, behind the character, there is a dark curtain moved by light draperies.
The portrait sees as the protagonist a dead daughter of de 'Medici.
Little Bia is sitting in the center and facing left. The girl looks towards the observer with the absence of emotion. The little girl is presented with care starting from the parting hair in the center and cut into a bob. Two braids then frame the face. The girl wears some jewels such as two pearl earrings, a necklace, and two gold chains. One of them surrounds the waist instead of a belt. The dress is very precious and made with light satin. Two puff sleeves also embellish her clothing. Finally, the background is empty and monochromatic.
The noble is seated on a wooden chair facing left looking towards the front of the painting with a cold and impassive expression. She wears an elegant dress in bright red with darker sleeves, gathered and fitted to the arms.
The neckline is square in shape and decorated with golden embroidery. The noble then wears a pearl necklace with a medallion and another in gold. Also around the very narrow waist, there is a belt with semiprecious stones.
The hair is tied up with a sober hairstyle and a braid that frames the head. Panciatichi places her right hand on a small open book while the left hand is elegantly placed on the arm of the wooden chair. A small ring tightens the ring finger. Finally, the background seems to represent an aedicule carved into the wall and flanked by two small columns supporting an arch.
A noblewoman certainly and most likely a member of the court of Cosimo de Medici, Duke of Florence in the mid-16th century. Her ornate and expensive dress establishes her position as an aristocrat. Bronzino was the principal portrait painter at the Medici court. Hidden in a corner of the panel, the blond boy was an afterthought, added by Bronzino at a later time. A careful analysis of the painting revealed that the woman had her right hand in another position.
Not only does Bronzino fit the baby in but he also changed the woman's clothing: her headdress became larger and more elaborate, the puff sleeves of her dress were expanded, the gloves were added and probably the damask pattern on the bodice too.
The painting celebrates the third son of Cosimo I de 'Medici and Eleonora of Toledo.
Garcia is depicted as covered by a precious red silk and gold dress. The fabric is decorated with gold threads and the collar is embellished with small light pearls. The little one in his right hand holds a white orange flower while with his left he lifts the large pendant hanging from the gold chain. Her face is plump and her head is framed by a crown of thin, blond hair.
This portrait dedicated to a child from an aristocratic family effectively reveals the conception of childhood portraiture of that time when the images portraying the sons of kings offer a stereotyped and rigid image. The little ones do not appear in the spontaneity of a child but look like little adults. Their role as rulers is also declared by the rigid and formal position.
The paint was executed on the commission of Bartolomeo Panciatichi and this is confirmed by the family coat-of-arms which can be seen on a high tower forming part of the background landscape.
The painting has a dynamic and abstract structure, and at the same time frozen by sharp outlines. Everything is harmoniously arranged in a great compositional balance, albeit of considerable complexity. In the foreground, the group of the Virgin and St Joseph is built up with revolving movements, which are restrained below by the extremely smooth bodies of the two children. The delicate face of the Madonna, her almost chiseled hair, and the pose and form of her hands, closely resemble elements in Bronzino's famous portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi.
It's a painting whose name of the protagonist is unknown.
The young man depicted by Bronzino is painted standing in the center, his face is regular but the pupils are not aligned with each other. The bust is turned to the left while the face is almost frontal. With his right hand, the young man holds a sign inside a book placed on a surface decorated with grotesques. From the front, a mask is visible formed by a shaped and sculpted cloth between two volutes.
The intellectual wears a very tight dark suit with elegant features and a black cap decorated with golden cylinders. From the narrow collar of the tunic the edge of a white shirt. On the little finger, it is possible to observe a small ring exhibited with elegance.
In the center foreground is a Pietà portraying the body of Jesus being cradled in his mother Mary's arms; the Apostle John supports his back and is modeled on a youth holding up the body of Christ; Mary Magdalene kneels on the right and supports the feet of Jesus, her jar of ointment is shown in the far right foreground.
Four holy women mourn on the left and another dressed in green peers over the Virgin's shoulder and stand out prominently because of her hand gesture and location in the center of the panel. Scholars believe this highlighted woman is one of the three Marys, Mary of Clopas. Two of the three men in the background are named in the Gospel of John as the followers who took Jesus down from the cross and prepared his body for burial. Nicodemus is depicted on the left holding a large ewer filled with embalming spices. On the right, Joseph of Arimathea holds the nails of the Crucifixion.
The Virgin is sitting on the ground, holding Baby Jesus on her legs and a blue book in her right hand; Jesus stretches his arms towards his mother and holds a small bird with open wings in his hands. On the right, San Giovanni is seated next to the processional cross placed on a wooden bowl containing water. The Saint brings forward his right hand holding a fruit; St. Anne on the left and St. Joseph on the right. Some fortresses are visible on the hills in the background.
The Virgin wears the traditional red dress which symbolizes the future sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The book is also a reference to the sacred scriptures in which the prophecy of the appearance of the Messiah on earth is found.
The colors in the painting are those of the figures in the foreground. They tend to be warm like the complexions and other bright ones like the Virgin's red dress and her blue cloak. The same color is also present on St. Joseph's dress. In the background, the dark and cold tones of the landscape prevail.
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