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Medici Art Flies to Paris

By Emily Baqir

A collection of art of the Medicis including works by Rosso Fiorentino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Andrea del Sarto, Pontormo, and Bronzino, will be on display until Jan. 25 at the Muséè Jacquemart-André in Paris.

Visitors will be immersed in a setting that mixes shaded colors and stunning graphic elements. Guests should also expect a trip through Florentine history following the sudden death of Lorenzo the Magnificent, across the short Republican phase, and through the territories of Alessandro de’ Medici, Cosimo I and Francesco, whose daughter Maria bettered the relationship between the Tuscan city and France by marrying King Henry IV.

“The strength of the so-called Mannerist language has marked posterity, particularly when artists express themselves conceptually, with a sophisticated codified dictionary,” said exhibition curator and Florentine art historian Carlo Falciani.

“Florence, Portraits at the Court of the Medicis” is an example of the sophistication of late Renaissance and Mannerist painting, and its ability to capture the emotion in the faces of prominent figures of the era. It also captured the character of the society in which the artists found themselves immersed.

The portraits of the princes in armor (est. 1530) are a tribute to the military strength with which the Medici separated Florence from the republic of Savonarola. The war-themed style give way to more peaceful images, the splendor of the court, and the blossoming of art and intellectual life.

This period also exemplifies the new role assumed by painters, musicians, and writers as aristocrats alongside the Medicis, which made Florence a symbol of the Renaissance.        

The Paris exhibition has benefited from an important collaboration between Florence museums, from which many of the works were gathered, as well as prestigious loans from galleries such as the Royal Collection of London and Frankfurt’s Staedel Museum.

“After numerous studies of the subject, it was time to offer the public a comprehensive view of portraiture, a genre that, more than others, allows for an understanding of the modernity and the artistic complexity of Florence in that century,” Falciani said. “The look of those men and women who entrusted to art the task of capturing their image is undoubtedly a privileged point of view for reflecting on an entire era.”  

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