About this artwork
Although he was trained in the tradition of his Florentine master, Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530), Pontormo created more expressive and experimental works than the older artist. His portraits are noted for their penetrating insight into character. The subject of this painting, the emotionally unstable Alessandro de’ Medici, was probably an illegitimate son of Pope Clement VII by a Moorish slave. Alessandro was named the first Duke of Florence in 1532, after the defeat of the city’s republican government by an alliance of the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Alessandro’s tyrannical reign ended in 1537, when he was assassinated by his cousin. This appears to be a preliminary painting of the duke that Pontormo consulted in the creation of a larger format state portrait now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- Pontormo, (Jacopo Carrucci)
- Alessandro de' Medici
- Oil on panel
- 35.3 × 25.8 cm; (13 7/8 × 10 1/8 in.) Painted surface: 31.4 × 25.8 cm (12 3/8 × 10 1/8 in.)
- Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection