The Landsknechte, the Medici family's traditional personal guard corps, are the focus of an exhibition that the Uffizi will be organising in conjunction with the Medici Archive Project, reconstructing the centuries-old history of this militia in an exhibition stretching from its early days under Cosimo I through to the extinction of the House of Medici in the 18th century. The exhibition showcases paintings, engravings, drawings, weapons, armour and even sounds to tell the story of the Landsknechte from a variety of different – social, cultural and military – viewpoints and of their impact on life in the city. The guards' main duty was to defend the person of the sovereign and of his closest relatives, thus they are invariably present in virtually every depiction of events associated with the sovereign, and indeed their iconic weapon, the halberd, even came to denote the court's presence in paintings and other depictions. Thanks to the abundance of works and figurative documents available, the exhibition is able to tell the story of the life of a soldiering corps that even had an impact on the name of one of Florence's most important monuments, the Loggia dei Lanzi in Piazza Signoria.
The exhibition is curated by Maurizio Arfaioli, Marco Merlo and Pasquale Focarile.