Saturday, 10 June 2006

The Bronzino Code

Bronzino - Bia or Maria & the face of the beastie
Coxsoft Art has been mulling over the fabulous beastie in Bronzino's Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time (see previous blogs: Bronzino's Symbolism and Bronzino Reconsidered). The National Gallery, which owns the painting, is of no help. Look at the two faces. On the left is Bronzino's portrait of Bia (Cosimo de' Medici's illegitimate daughter) or Maria de' Medici (Cosimo's legitimate daughter). [I have found the same portrait with one name or the other.] On the right is the face of the beastie. The faces aren't quite the same, but the hair, hairstyle and age are identical. The beastie's head is slightly downturned and has a sly look. It also wears a hairband. This is a clue. A hairband is one of the identifying marks of the Sphinx: a lion with a woman's head. Little Miss Medici as the young Sphinx? Why not? Dad commissioned the work....


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