Florence art guide

Agnolo di Cosimo Allori called il Bronzino


Florence 1503-72

He was an exponent of the late Mannerist school in Florence; much of his production consists in his portrait paintings, which were carried out in an elaborate and feverish style, in the form of idealized models linked to the court but which also contained a certain cold psycological rigour.
Pupil and assistant of Pontormo, he first came to the Medici court in 1539 to carry out the decorations for the wedding of Cosimo I with the beautiful and rich Eleonora of Toledo, the daughter of the Viceroy of Naples. It was not long before he became the official portrait painter of the Duke and his court: his pure, aulic and elaborate - though also brilliant - portraits fully interpret the absolutist tastes of the sovereign and his need to provide his subjects with stability rather than the existentialist doubts offered by the early Mannerist school.

Portrait of
Bartolommeo Panciatichi

His enormous production of paintings includes the portraits of Lucrezia and Bartolomeo Panciatichi (1540 c.), Eleonora of Toledo (all in the Uffizi)and Laura Battiferri (1555-60, Palazzo Vecchio), the frescoes in the Chapel of the Quarters of Eleonora in Palazzo Vecchio (1540-46 c.) and the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence in the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
Two years spent in Rome (1546-48) induced him to carry out a series of ecclesiastic paintings (the Resurrection of the Virgin Mary, 1552 - Annunziata) which appear to be suffering from the effects of a moral crisis: this was, after all, the period in which the atmosphere of austerity and Counter Reformation was in full sway.

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