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Portrait of Bartolomeo Panciatichi

Date
1541-1545
Collection
Painting
Location
D14. Bronzino
Technique
Oil on wood
Size
104 x 85 cm
Inventory
1890 no. 741

Belonging to a rich family of merchants from Pistoia who had settled in Florence, Bartolomeo Panciatichi was born in France, natural son of Bartolomeo the Elder. He had completed his literary studies between Lyon and Padua. As a boy, he had attended the court of the King of France, François I, and in his formative years, he had become acquainted with the religious reform movements that were spreading across Europe as a result of Lutheran and Calvinist preaching. Returning to Florence, he married Lucrezia Pucci and served the Medici court as a diplomat and trusted figure of Cosimo de Medici.

Bronzino painted his portrait together with the portrait of his wife Lucrezia (Inv. 1890 n. 736) in the 1540s, when he had established himself as a leading artist in Florence, highly appreciated for his clear, enamelled painting and almost obsessive descriptive precision, and the supreme elegance of the subjects, both in portraiture and in sacred or mythological scenes.

Bartolomeo is presented standing, leaning casually against a balustrade beyond which a view of the city can be made out. The façades of buildings on two transversal lines lean against each other, progressively flowing towards the back, interrupted in the middle by a front wall pierced by an arch. On the first building on the right, the family coat of arms, symbolising the protagonist and his noble rank, is in full view. The attire is luxurious, playing on the contrast between the long black cloth jacket with embossed decorations and the lacquer red satin jacket with numerous small slits on the sleeve opening up to reveal the shirt underneath. To match his robes, Bartolomeo wears a soft black cap and clasps a book and glove in his hands. The long, lean face is enlivened by the sharp gaze and the red beard, painted strand by strand and shaped into two pointed locks, as was the custom of the time. The austere, almost frozen atmosphere of the scene is interrupted only by the appearance of the black molossian puppy appearing at the bottom right, intrigued by the presence of the spectator.

Bibliography

C. Falciani, scheda n. III.1, in Bronzino. Pittore e poeta alla corte dei Medici, a cura di C. Falciani e A. Natali, Firenze, 2010, p. 166; F. de Luca, scheda n. 26, in I volti della Riforma. Lutero e Cranach nelle collezioni medicee, a cura di F. de Luca e G. M. Fara, Firenze 2017, pp. 118-119.

Text by
Anna Bisceglia
Related artworks

Portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi

Agnolo di Cosimo Tori known as Bronzino (Florence 1503-1572)

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