Portrait of Giovanni Medici as a child - Agnolo Bronzino. 58 x 48 cm
This chubby, cheerful child is none other than Giovanni Medici Jr., son of Duke Cosimo I, the future cardinal. The broader name of the portrait is “Giovanni Medici keeps carduelis as a child”.
Bronzino was a court painter at the court of Cosimo and therefore wrote a lot of his whole family and close ones. It is known that the work was created in a short time: the duke ordered a portrait of his son in mid-March 1545, and by the beginning of May he was ready. In the portrait, the baby is only 18 months old, although anthropologically his appearance corresponds to a 2-year-old child.
It is no coincidence that the boy holds this particular bird in his hand, because the goldfinch is a symbol of Christianity. On the boy is a pink suit with gold lines. There is a coral attached to the belt, merging in color with clothes, and you will not immediately notice - this is a talisman that was often worn on children in Florence in order to ward off misfortune and disease.
The uniqueness of this work is manifested in comparison with other children's portraits. Usually Bronzino painted them with serious "adult" faces, but Giovanni is not at all like that - the picture is very emotional, lively and shows us the child very realistically. Furthermore. The boy is depicted not to his full height and without the "classic" turn of the head by 3/4, but almost frontally. You can’t help but be touched by chubby fingers and round cheeks, and a tenacious look will notice the first milk teeth, barely peeking.
Cosimo had 4 sons, and each of them is depicted in portraits in different ways, the reason for this was the fact that for each of the offspring, the father was preparing his own fate. The youngest son, Giovanni, was destined for the cardinal, whom he became at the age of 17.
According to the testimonies of those years, we learn that the boy was described as “beautiful and plump,” and his portrait was recognized as “the most beautiful and happy of all the children depicted ...”. Well, one cannot disagree with this.