27.11.10

BRONZINO at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence

Bronzino, Bia - Daughter of Cosimo de Medici, 1542, oil on panel

I've just returned from a brief trip to Italy, and was fortunate to catch a magnificent exhibition of Bronzino at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. It's an extensive survey of the artist's life with works borrowed from all over the world. For me, Bronzino's complex mannerist compositions are not so interesting, and never really transcend their inheritance from Michelangelo or the work of his teacher Pontormo. It is his portraits that place Bronzino in a class of his own -- not just for their crystalline precision and their stately presence, but more important, for their exquisite color. Each painting is built from a distinct color idea, and embodies its own unique color world. The subtleties are impossible to discern in reproductions, but these works are knockouts. (There was a strict NO PHOTO policy at the Strozzi, and guards everywhere -- so these images are lifted from the internet).

Bronzino, Lady with a Small Dog, 1532, oil on panel

Bronzino, Stephano IV, 1546, oil on panel

Bronzino, Lucrezia Paniatichi, 1540, oil on panel

Bronzino, Lorenzo Lenzi, 1527, oil on panel

Bronzino, Woman, 1530, oil on panel

Bronzino, Eleonore of Toledo & her Son Giovanni de Medici, 1545, oil on panel

There is a virtual walk-through of the entire exhibition HERE.