Medici Women: Portraits of Power, Love, and Betrayal in the Court of Duke Cosimo I

Medici Women: Portraits of Power, Love, and Betrayal in the Court of Duke Cosimo I

Weight 0.00 lbs
By Gabrielle Langdon
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2006
World Rights
480 Pages
ISBN 9780802095268
Published Sep 2007
Online discount: 15%
 $43.95    $37.36

The ducal court of Cosimo I de' Medici in sixteenth-century Florence was one of absolutist, rule-bound order. Portraiture especially served the dynastic pretensions of the absolutist ruler, Duke Cosimo and his consort, Eleonora di Toledo, and was part of a Herculean programme of propaganda to establish legitimacy and prestige for the new sixteenth-century Florentine court.

In this engaging and original study, Gabrielle Langdon analyses selected portraits of women by Jacopo Pontormo, Agnolo Bronzino, Alessandro Allori, and other masters. She defines their function as works of art, as dynastic declarations, and as encoded documents of court culture and propaganda, illuminating Cosimo's conscious fashioning of his court portraiture in imitation of the great courts of Europe. Langdon explores the use of portraiture as a vehicle to express Medici political policy, such as with Cosimo's Hapsburg and Papal alliances in his bid to be made Grand Duke with hegemony over rival Italian princes.

Stories from archives, letters, diaries, chronicles, and secret ambassadorial briefs, open up a world of fascinating, personalities, personal triumphs, human frailty, rumour, intrigue, and appalling tragedies. Lavishly illustrated, Medici Women: Portraits of Power, Love and Betrayal in the Court of Duke Cosimo I is an indispensable work for anyone with a passion for Italian renaissance history, art, and court culture.

Gabrielle Langdon is an indepedent scholar and former curator who has taught Renaissance art history in Europe, the United States, and Canada.





  1. Bloodlines: Portraits of Maria Salviati de’ Medici by Bronzino and Pontormo
  2. Declarations of Dynasty: The State Portrait of Eleonora di Toledo
  3. ‘These tender and well-born plants’: Young Daughters and Wards of Cosimo and Eleonora
  4. A ‘Medici’ Papacy and a Counter-Reformation in Portraiture: Allori’s Giulia d’Alessandro de’ Medici
  5. The New Medicean Cosmos: Lucrezia de’ Medici, Duchess of Ferrara
  6. Damnatio Memoriae: Isabella de’ Medici Orsini, ‘La stella di casa Medici’
  7. Up Close and Personal: Patronage and the Miniature Eleonora (‘Dianora’) di Toledo de’ Medici








AAIS Book Prize - American Association of Italian Studies (Canada) - Winner in 2006