Portrait of Cosimo I de' Medici as Orpheus
Agnolo Bronzino (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano), Italian (active Florence), 1503 - 1572
Duke Cosimo I de' Medici is shown as the mythological musician and poet Orpheus after having calmed Cerberus, the doglike guardian to Hades from which Orpheus wished to retrieve his wife, Eurydice. The highly sensual portrait of the naked young duke may have several meanings: the peaceful age that the new generation of Medici wished to usher in, the duke's patronage of the arts and literature, or his marriage to Eleonora di Toledo in 1539. This painting could have been made in conjunction with ceremonies celebrating the latter occasion.
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