tanto naturali che paiono vivi veramente
e che non manchi loro se non lo spirito
Giorgio Vasari, 1568
BRONZINO AND FLORENCE. THE PANCIATICHI
Bartolomeo Panciatichi was born in 1507 in Lyon, where his family was involved in trade. Educated in Paris and Padua, he married Lucrezia Pucci in the mid-1530’s and they moved back to France, where they rubbed shoulders with thinkers influenced by the Reformation. They returned to Florence at the end of the decade and in 1541 Bartolomeo and Bronzino joined the Accademia degli Umidi as poets. Its name soon changed to Accademia Fiorentina and Bartolomeo became a Consul in 1545, later becoming Cosimo I’s ambassador to the French court. In 1551 he was accused of being “Lutheran and owning Lutheran books”, but in fact his religious leanings were shared by many at the Medici court where the Benefit of Christ and the writings of Juan de Valdés circulated freely. Valdés argued that salvation was achieved through faith alone rather than as a reward for good works. The trial was held from 1551 to 1552, Cosimo intervening several times to get Bartolomeo and his wife acquitted. A sublime product of this religious tendency is Bronzino’s Crucified Christ; thought to have been lost, it is on display here for the first time under the master’s name.