Burial clothes of Don Garzia de’ Medici: Doublet with breeches, surcoat

Manifattura fiorentina
in storage
Invv. GGC nn. 8723, 8724

Born in 1547, Garzia de’ Medici was the seventh son of Cosimo de’ Medici and Eleonora di Toledo, Duke and Duchess of Florence. In 1562, during a journey on the coast of Tuscany with his parents and two of his brothers, he contracted malaria and died. Like other important members of the Medici dynasty, he was buried in the Medici Chapels at the Basilica di San Lorenzo. In 1857, the bodies of the Medici family were examined for the first time and Don Garzia was described thus: “ [...] The corpse of the unfortunate young man is now purely skeletal, with a velvet cap on his skull. He is dressed in a red satin doublet embellished with thin stripes in gold thread, over which he wears a surcoat with sleeves in the same fabric and adorned with velvet in the same color. The stockings are made in the Spanish tradition, but the stripes, which would once have been connected, have become unstitched [...]”; in Exhumation..., Florence 1888, link 

These garments and the clothing of Cosimo and Eleonora arrived at the Galleria del Costume in 1983 as a bundle of shapeless fabrics and were carefully restored.

The crimson satin doublet, with embellishments in gold cord and slightly padded around the abdomen, and the velvet stockings have enabled a three-dimensional reconstruction of the outfit, while the surcoat featuring a high collar and broad sleeves opening inwards was restored to reveal the exquisite Damask fabric. The surcoat was embellished with a double cummerbund in velvet in a decorative cut. The outfit was paired with a black velvet cap.