Mannerism 671 in Naples, and thereby cemented an important alliance with the Spanish court.

Mannerism 671

in Naples, and thereby cemented an important alliance with the Spanish court. Several years later, Cosimo asked Bronzino to paint Eleanora and their second son, Giovanni (!”#. 22-43), who then was about three years old. Bronzino painted doz- ens of portraits of members of the Medici family, but never portrayed Eleanora with any of her daughters (she and Cosimo had three daughters as well as eight sons). $is paint- ing therefore should be seen as a formal dynastic portrait intended to present the duke’s wife as the mother of one of his heirs.

As in other Bronzino portraits (!”#. 22-43A), the subjects appear aloof and emotionless. Bronzino idealized both Eleanora and Giovanni, giving both of them perfect features and blem- ishless skin that glows like alabaster. Eleanora’s %gure takes up most of the panel’s surface, and Bronzino further underscored her primacy by lightening the blue background around her head, creating a halolike frame for her face and perhaps associating the mother and son with the Madonna and Christ Child.

Seated with one arm around Giovanni and the other resting on her lap, Eleanora looks out at the viewer with cool detachment. She is richly attired in a brocaded gown and wears a costly pearl necklace and a tiara. $e painter reproduced the various textures of fabric, jewels, hair, and &esh with supreme skill. $e boy stands sti’y, staring forward, suppressing all playful thoughts in order to behave as expected on this formal occasion. Bronzino’s portrayal of Eleanora and Giovanni is in some ways less a portrait of a mother and child than of a royal audience.

Sofonisba Anguissola. $e aloof formality of Bronzi- no’s dynastic portrait is much relaxed in the portraiture of S(!()”*+, A)#-“**(., (ca. 1532–1625) of Cremona in north- ern Italy. Anguissola introduced a new kind of group portrait of irresistible charm, characterized by an informal intimacy and by subjects that are o/en moving, conversing, or engaged in activities. Like many of the other works she produced before settling in Spain in 1559, the portrait illustrated here

22-43 B!”#$%#”, Eleanora of Toledo and Giovanni de’ Medici, ca. 1546. Oil on wood, 39 9 140 & 39 1

3 40. Galleria degli U’zi,


Bronzino was the official portraitist of Grand Duke Cosimo de’ Medici. He portrayed Cosimo’s Spanish wife and their second son as coolly detached personalities. Eleanora wears a brocaded gown, necklace, and tiara.

22-42 B!”#$%#”, Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time, ca. 1546. Oil on wood, 59 10 & 49 8 140. National Gallery, London.

Bronzino’s painting of Cupid fondling his mother, Venus, exemplifies the Mannerists’ love of learned allegories with erotic undertones. As in many Mannerist works, the meaning is ambiguous.

22-43A BRONZINO, Portrait of a Young Man, ca. 1530–1545.

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