Opening June 26, The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570 will feature more than 90 works of art by some of the most celebrated artists of the Italian Renaissance, including Bronzino, Pontormo, Cellini, and many others
Some of the greatest portraits of Western art were painted in Florence during the tumultuous years from 1512 to 1570, when the city was transformed from a republic with elected officials into a duchy ruled by the Medici family. The key figure in this transformation was Cosimo I de’ Medici, who became Duke of Florence in 1537, following the assassination of his predecessor, Alessandro de’ Medici. Cosimo shrewdly employed culture as a political tool in order to convert the mercantile city into the capital of a dynastic Medicean state, enlisting the leading intellectuals and artists of his time and promoting grand architectural, engineering, and artistic projects.
Opening June 26, The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570 will feature an outstanding group of portraits by renowned artists—from Raphael, Jacopo Pontormo, and Rosso Fiorentino to Benvenuto Cellini, Agnolo Bronzino, and Francesco Salviati—to introduce visitors to the various new and complex ways that artists portrayed the elite of Medicean Florence, representing the sitters’ political and cultural ambitions and conveying the changing sense of what it meant to be a Florentine at this defining moment in the city’s history. The exhibition will include works of art in a wide range of mediums, from paintings, sculptural busts, medals, and carved gemstones to drawings, etchings, manuscripts, and armor. By bringing together works from The Met’s holdings and collections throughout Europe, North America, and Australia, it will mark the most ambitious presentation of this material ever mounted in the United States.