Workshop of Agnolo Bronzino (Menticelli 1503-1572 Florence)
Workshop of Agnolo Bronzino (Menticelli 1503-1572 Florence)

Portrait of a young boy, traditionally identified as Ferdinando de Medici, as the Infant Saint John the Baptist

Details
Workshop of Agnolo Bronzino (Menticelli 1503-1572 Florence)
Portrait of a young boy, traditionally identified as Ferdinando de Medici, as the Infant Saint John the Baptist
inscribed 'ECCE / AGNVS / DEI' (centre left)
oil on panel
19½ x 15½ in. (49.5 x 39.2 cm.)
in an Italian 17th century carved frame
Provenance
Antonio Somigli, by 20 June 1840, when given to the following,
Numa Pompilio Tanzini (1801-1848), Scuole Pie, (according to an old inscription on the reverse of the panel).
Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo (1906-1976), by 1955, and by descent to the present owner.

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Emily Harris
Emily Harris

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Lot Essay

The sitter has been traditionally identified as Ferdinando I de' Medici (1549-1609), Grand Duke of Tuscany, son of Cosimo I de' Medici and Eleonora di Toledo. However, the depiction of the young boy with the attributes of Saint John (Giovanni) the Baptist may suggest an alternative identity for the sitter: Giovanni di Cosimo I de' Medici (1544-1562).

An allegorical portrait by Bronzino of an older Giovanni de' Medici as St. John the Baptist is in the Galleria Borghese, Rome. Giovanni was to be the Medici's family representative in the Curia in Rome, and Bronzino, in painting him as Saint John, the patron Saint for the city of Florence, is emphasising the sitter's strong association with the city itself.
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