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Portrait of Alessandro de' Medici

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

Made in Florence, Italy, Europe

Before December 1535

Oil on panel

39 7/8 × 32 1/4 × 1 1/8 inches (101.3 × 81.9 × 2.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 351, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

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.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.