Questi ritratti degl’uomini illustri di casa Medici
sono tutti naturali, vivaci e somigliantissimi al vero
Giorgio Vasari, 1568
BRONZINO AND FLORENCE. THE MEDICI
This section illustrates Bronzino’s very close ties with Cosimo I and the Medici court. Bronzino only ever left Florence on short trips after this. Vasari tells us that, on noting his skill "and especially that he was talented at drawing from life as meticulously as can be", the duke commissioned him to paint portraits of himself and his family. Bronzino’s role as official painter to the dynasty went unchallenged until 1564, when Vasari replaced him as court favourite. Bronzino’s career marched hand in hand with the period of Cosimo I’s achievement of political supremacy. Wishing to rival the other courts of Europe in splendour, the duke ordered “tapestries in silk and gold for the Sala del Consiglio de’ Dugento”, or council chamber in Palazzo Vecchio, with the stories of Joseph the Jew (Vasari). He summoned Nicolas Karcher and Jan Rost, two master weavers from Flanders, for the project and established the Medici tapestry manufacture in 1545. Three tapestries were made to designs by Pontormo, one to a design by Francesco Salviati and fully sixteen to cartoons by Bronzino.
Bronzino - ROOM III