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Portrait of Luca Martini

Agnolo Tori known as Bronzino (Florence 1503- 1572)

1555-1556 ca.
Palatine Gallery, Mars Room
Oil on wood
101,4x 79,2 cm
1912 no. 434

The half-length gentleman in the foreground, immersed in the tense atmosphere of the dark background, fixes two crystalline blue eyes on the spectator, inviting him to observe the topographical map he has just unrolled to find the details required to reveal his identity. This is Luca Martini (1507-1561), a prominent scholar and academic in the Florentine environment but also linked by custom to the circle of Roman scholars that revolved around the Roman Curia. Above all, Martini was a very loyal official of Duke Cosimo I, who appointed him to positions such as Provveditore dei Fossi, delle Galere e delle Fortezze (Administrator of ditches, galleys and forts) in Pisa, a central and strategic role for the duke's policy, committed to strengthening the areas between Florence and the coast. The details on the map allude to the Pisan area in which Martini had followed reclamation activity in the middle of the sixteenth century, and this portrait dates back to that period. The compact pictorial surface, as if it were semi-precious stone, the meticulous drawing that gives shape to the long hands, engraves the facial features and depicts the very long beard, the folds on the sleeves or the thickness of the paper, are characteristic of the mature Bronzino who - in a partnership with Pierino da Vinci, Tribolo and Ammannati on the sculpture front - interpreted the ideals and taste of the court of Cosimo I and his wife Eleonora de Toledo with the highest level of quality.


S. Giordani, in Leopoldo de' Medici principe dei collezionisti, a cura di M. Sframeli, R. Gennaioli, V. Conticelli, Livorno 2017, pp. 446- 447; S. Giordani, in Eleonora di Toledo e l'invenzione della corte dei Medici a Firenze, a cura di Bruce Edelstein, Firenze 2023, p. 316 scheda n. 67.

Text by
Anna Bisceglia
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