Agnolo di Cosimo (Bronzino): Portrait of Portrait of Eleanor of Toledo and Her Son (1545)

(Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy)

Bronzino was for the most part of his life the official court painter of the Medici family. Most of his portraits are members of this famous family. This portrait is of Eleanor of Toledo, wife of Cosimo I, grand duke of Tuscany and duke of Florence, and her one of her sons. The identity of the son is not exactly known but it is thought to be her second son Giovanni. The duchess is painted in a magnificent dress which dominates the whole painting. The dress itself is made from brocaded silk velvet with gold-wrapped and black threads against a white satin ground. Notice also the golden belt, decorated with jewels and beads. The pomegranate motif on her dress is a reference to her role as a mother. A dress like this was reserved for special occasions and was not something which the duchess would wear on a normal day. This painting was probably from 1545.