Portrait of Alessandro de' Medici

Pontormo (Jacopo Carucci), Italian (active Florence), 1494 - 1556/7

Made in Florence, Italy, Europe


Oil on panel

39 7/8 x 32 1/4inches (101.3 x 81.9cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
Cat. 83

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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Alessandro de’ Medici (born c. 1511), duke of Florence from 1530 until his assassination in 1537, is shown not as a powerful ruler, but in a private chamber making a drawing of a woman in metalpoint. At the time, drawing was considered an acceptable activity for a gentleman, but here the reference may be to love poetry. The fourteenth-century poet Petrarch, who enjoyed a revival in readership in the early sixteenth century, wrote sonnets about a metalpoint drawing he owned of his beloved Laura.