Pearls, Prunes, and Malaria: Behind the Scenes of Bronzino's Double Portrait of Eleonora di Toledo and Giovanni de' Medici

The exhibition The Drawings of Bronzino is the first ever dedicated to Agnolo Bronzino (1503 - 1572), the leading Italian Mannerist artist who worked primarily in Florence during the flourishing Medici period. The exhibition includes nearly all the known drawings by, or attributed to, Bronzino. A painter, draftsman, academician, and witty poet, he became famous as the court artist to the Duke Cosimo I de' Medici and his beautiful wife, the Duchess Eleonora di Toledo.

Dr. Sheila Barker delves into the world in which the double portrait of Eleonora di Toledo and her son, Giovanni de' Medici, was created. Considering the era, Cosimo de' Medici's desires and fears, and Eleonora's political involvement, Barker suggests that Bronzino's double portrait, while balancing the political and artistic tendencies of the period towards mannerist idealization, nevertheless portrays true likeness.

Sheila Barker, Educational Programming Director, Medici Archive Project; introduced by Carmen Bambach, curator, Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Learn more about Bronzino’s paintings at the Met:

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