Cosimo I de’Medici and Granducal Florence – Jonathan Davies and Gemma Cornetti

Event Date: 29 January 2020
The Lecture Room
Warburg Institute
Woburn Square,
London WC1H 0AB

The Warburg Institute presents:

Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519-1574), first Grandduke of Tuscany, was both a consummate administrator and a fierce patron of the arts. The lecture series Cosimo I De’Medici and Granducal Florence celebrates the 500th anniversary of Cosimo I de’ Medici’s birth by bringing together scholars from across the humanities to discuss Cosimo’s achievements in art, architecture, statecraft, scholarship and culture. Pairs of scholars will offer specialist discussions over the course of six evenings, from June to November 2019. Evenings will be devoted to issues of diplomacy and spying, architectural and artistic commissions, the development of universities and libraries, as well as Cosimo’s personal learning and self-representation.


Introduction by Professor Michelle O’Malley (Warburg):

Dr Jonathan Davies (University of Warwick) – “He was supremely an imitator of [them]”: Cosimo I, Cosimo the Elder, and Lorenzo the Magnificent
Contemporaries noted the fascination of Cosimo I with his ancestors Cosimo the Elder and Lorenzo the Magnificent.  This paper will examine that attraction and discuss possible influences of his fifteenth-century ancestors on the first grand duke of Tuscany.


Accompanying Images:


Gemma Cornetti (Warburg Institute) – Engraved Portraits for the Medici
Throughout his lifetime, Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici gave attention, unprecedented in the history of the Medici family, to the commissioning of portraits of himself and his ancestors in various artistic media. In contrast to painted and sculpted portraits, portrait prints bearing his likeness, and issued when he was alive, did not stem from his direct commission – Cosimo was largely a recipient of them. In this paper, by focusing on these portrait prints, I aim to challenge modern concepts applied to portraiture such as ‘self-fashioning’, ‘self-projection’ or ‘propaganda’, and stress the greater role of printmakers and courtiers in the construction and dissemination of Cosimo’s likeness.

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