Coppia felice, onde virtù s’impara,
Nuovo Orfeo, nuova Clio, quanto è beata
L’alma ch’è degna amarti, e riverirti?
Il Bronzino, Sonetti, ante 1566
BRONZINO AND FLORENCE. THE MEDICI
Mindful of Bronzino’s skill in producing the decorations for his wedding with Eleonora of Toledo in 1539, Cosimo I asked him to decorate the chapel in his wife’s private apartments in Palazzo Vecchio. From 1541 to 1545 Bronzino painted four saints on the vault and Stories of Moses on the walls in fresco, and a panel showing the Lamentation over the Dead Christ together with two side panels showing St John the Baptist and St Cosmas for the altar. In 1545, shortly before the work was due to be completed, the duke made a gift of the Lamentation to Emperor Charles V’s private secretary Nicolas Perrenot de Granevelle (today it is in Besançon, a photographic reproduction evoking its presence here in the exhibition) and the two side panels were transferred to the Medici Wardrobe. The panel of St Cosmas, previously thought lost, is displayed here for the first time since its rediscovery, albeit in fragmentary form. Cosimo immediately commissioned a second version of the altarpiece which Bronzino was to deliver, virtually identical to the first, only in 1553. Ten years later Bronzino made two new side panels depicting the Annunciation. All three panels are still in Palazzo Vecchio today. The famous portrait of Eleonora with her son Giovanni is here to remind us ideally of the chapel’s first decorative scheme.
Bronzino - ROOM IV