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Portrait of Cosimo I de' Medici as Orpheus

Agnolo Bronzino (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano), Italian (active Florence), 1503 - 1572

Made in Florence, Italy, Europe

c. 1537-1539

Oil on panel

36 7/8 × 30 1/16 inches (93.7 × 76.4 cm) Framed: 45 × 38 × 4 1/8 inches (114.3 × 96.5 × 10.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 350, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. John Wintersteen, 1950

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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.

* 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.