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New Medici show charts Renaissance rulers’ political might

In this video, we join Keith Christiansen, the John Pope-Hennessy Chairman of the Met’s Department of European Paintings, and guest curator Carlo Falciani, Professor of Art History at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, for a tour of ‘The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512 – 1570’.

The sumptuous exhibition is on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art until October 11, and features over 90 pieces – from paintings, sculptural busts, medals, and carved gemstones to drawings, etchings, manuscripts, and armour.

The works are drawn from the oeuvre of the period’s most celebrated artists, including Raphael, Jacopo Pontormo, and Rosso Fiorentino to Benvenuto Cellini, Agnolo Bronzino and Francesco Salviati.

Some of the greatest portraits of Western art were painted in Florence during the tumultuous years 1512-1570, when the city was transformed from a republic with elected officials, into a duchy ruled by the Medici family. The key figure in this transformation was Cosimo I de’ Medici, who became Duke of Florence in 1537, after the assassination of his predecessor, Alessandro de’ Medici.

As the exhibition reveals, Cosimo used culture as a powerful political tool, promoting grand architectural, engineering and artistic projects to convert the mercantile city into the capital of a dynastic Medicean state.

Learn more about the exhibition here.

View the original video here.

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