This article analyses Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici’s (1617–1675) systematic methods of collecting artists self-portraits, which are recorded in the extensive correspondence with his ‘agents’. These written sources provide information on strategies for buying as well as examining the self-portraits and reveal a methodical system of control to ensure they were authentic. Instead of documenting the artist's appearance, Leopoldo’s intentions were markedly different from the uomini illustri series created by Cosimo I. (1519–1574); rather, the Cardinal understood paintings as products of the hand of the specific artist and used the theories of physiognomy to test their authenticity.

Veduta del primo corridoio degli Uffizi.Giovan Battista Foggini, Ritratto del cardinale Leopoldo de’ Medici, Gallerie degli Uffizi.
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Imagines è pubblicata a Firenze dalle Gallerie degli Uffizi. Direttore responsabile: Eike D. Schmidt. Redazione: Dipartimento di Comunicazione Digitale. ISSN 2533-2015
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Anna Maria Procajlo
Anna Maria Procajlo, Leopoldo de‘ Medici e la sua ricerca sistematica del "ritratto fatto di sua propria mano“, in “Imagines”, n. 4, maggio 2020, pp. 134-151
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Research