Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- Artist Alessandro Allori was trained by Agnolo Bronzino, a portrait painter for the most powerful people in 16th-century Florence, Italy.
- Lucrezia de’ Medici was the daughter of Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, one of the ruling patriarchs in Florence.
- This portrait was created for Lucrezia’s brother, Francesco, just before she left home to marry Alfonso II d’Este, in order to help her family make an alliance with Alfonso’s family.
- The way the Medici family portrayed themselves in portraits added to peoples’ perceptions of how powerful and wealthy they were. Notice the jewels, gold, pearls, and expensive clothing in this portrait of Lucrezia, who would have been 15 years old when this portrait was painted.
After the death of his father in 1540, artist Alessandro Allori was adopted and trained by Agnolo Bronzino, the most famous portrait painter in Florence at that time. Bronzino and his colleagues painted portraits of Florence’s aristocracy, the highest-ranking members being the Medici family. Lucrezia de’ Medici (1545–1561) portrays the fifth child of Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici and Eleonora di Toledo. In 1558 Lucrezia’s family arranged for her to marry Alfonso II d’Este, the future Duke of Ferrara. This portrait was painted in 1560 for her brother Francesco before Lucrezia left home to be married. She had been in fragile health for most of her life. One year after this portrait was painted, Lucrezia died at the age of 16 (most likely from tuberculosis).
tags: fashion, family, identity, meaning, power, women
Resources for Teachers:
- Read an article to learn more about Lucrezia and the events of the Medici family during her lifetime.
- Watch a virtual exhibition opening to hear curators from the Metropolitan Museum of Art explain the connection between the Medici family’s political power and their portraits.
- Watch a video about Florence and the Renaissance.
Resources for Students: