Monday, August 6, 2012

Lucrezia Tornabuoni

This image  well-known as "Portrait of a young lady" represents in fact to a young Lucrezia painted by Piero del Pollaiolo (c. 1443 – 1496), also known as Piero Benci,
Lucrezia di Francesco Tornabuoni de Medici (1427 - 1482) was born, married and patroness to her home of Florence, Italy, during the early Renaissance (ca. 1450 - 1600).
"Still a teenager, Tornabuoni, whose family name was altered from the aristocratic Tornaquinci, married Piero I “The Gouty” (1416 - 1469) de Medici, heir to the banking family’s empire. Bringing blue blood into the Medici merchant-banking line, their marriage supported the Medici’s political ambitions.

The Republic of Florence

The city-state of Florence claimed a republican structure. Although voting rights were held by a limited number of qualified male citizens, Florentines were ruled primarily by their First Citizen with family factions vying for their place of power. As renowned Renaissance historians Christopher Hibbert and J.R. Hale have noted, the Medici maintained a delicate balance of relative peace, but maintained power through inheritance and exchange of influence.
Florence’s complex power balance provided no approved public positions for females, but a few women created their own indispensible roles. Despite severe legal limitations on women’s financial actions, Lucrezia wielded funds towards projects to the benefit of her family, keeping its citizens in a state of awe and gratitude."

Read more at Suite101: Lucrezia Tournabuoni de Medici, Pious Politician: The Power of Women's Patronage in Renaissance Florence, Italy |

A good number of pictures have been said over the years to be of Tornabuoni: the portrait, attributed to Domenico Ghirlandaio, is certainly her; the woman in the frescoes by Ghirlandaio is generally accepted to be her:
(a) A portrait done c.1475, when Tornabuoni was in her 40s.
(b) In a group of frescoes commissioned by Tornabuoni's brother shortly after her death, the woman second from the right in "Birth of St. John the Baptist"; at the left in "Birth of the Virgin"; and at the far right in "The Visitation." 
(c) Less generally accepted is the traditional identification of Tornabuoni as Mary in Botticelli's c.1480-81 "Madonna of the Magnificat."