Florence, Portraits at the Court of the Medicis
158 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris, France
In the 16th century, the art of portraiture became increasingly common among the Florentine elite, who had found in it a means of capturing their facial characteristics and social status for posterity. They drew on literary characters such as Petrarch, musical references or a staged production full of symbols to describe the model’s life in all its facets.
The Jacquemart-André Museum has devoted an unrivalled exhibition to the great Florentine portrait painters of the 16th century, based on around forty works. Alongside the presentation of masterpieces by Pontormo, a pupil of Andrea del Sarto and master of mannerism, there will be a chance to appreciate the refined and graceful features, typical of the portraits of Bronzino or Salviati, which are testimony to a meaningful sense of sophistication.
This exhibition will offer a panorama of Florentine portraiture in the 16th century with all its main themes and stylistic transformations. Through the eyes of the painters experimenting with new ways of representing their contemporaries, it will allow visitors to appreciate the style developments of the Cinquecento, an especially eventful century in cultural and religious terms.
The portraits of the republican period in the early 16th century in all their gravitas gave way to heroic representations of men at war, symbols of military and political conflicts that led the Medici to seize power in Florence in 1530. Next come the court portraits, distinguished by their richness and elegance, and the portraits of artists, witnesses to a new role bestowed on court painters and opening their minds to other forms of art such as poetry and music.
This exhibition has benefited from an extraordinary partnership with the Museums of Florence. Other renowned international museum institutions and exceptional collections such as the Royal Collection (London), the Louvre (Paris) and even the Städel Museum (Frankfurt) are also supporting this event with remarkable loans.
Image: Agnolo Bronzino, Portrait of Eleonora di Toledo, 1522, Oil on panel, 59 x 46 cm, Prague, NárodnÍ Galerie © National Gallery of Prague 2014