Artwork of the Week: October 2

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Workshop of Agnolo Bronzino (Italian, 1503–1572), Cosimo I de’Medici. Oil on wood panel, 1545 or after. 41 x 30 5/8 in. Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1913.232. Gallery 15

Workshop of Agnolo Bronzino (Italian, 1503–1572), Cosimo I de’Medici. Oil on wood panel, 1545 or after. 41 x 30 5/8 in. Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1913.232. Gallery 15

Cosimo I de’Medici (1519–1574), Grand Duke of Tuscany, considered portraiture an effective vehicle for the fashioning of his personal and political identity. Cosimo wears the badge of the Order of the Golden Fleece, an exclusive order of knights into which he was inducted in 1545. His helmet rests on a broncone, or tree stump that sprouts new growth—a device that symbolized the vitality and supremacy of the Medici dynasty. The sprouting olive branch emphasized the Medici family’s pursuit of peace and intellectual development. The imagery defines the duke as an elegant embodiment of the refined Florentine court culture that flourished in times of peace—a peace guaranteed only by Cosimo’s rule and military prowess.


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