NYC-ARTS

S2021 E524 | CLIP

The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570

NYC-Arts visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art to explore their new exhibition, "The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570," featuring portraits by some of the most celebrated artists of the Italian Renaissance: Bronzino, Raphael, Pontormo, Salviati, and many others.

AIRED: July 08, 2021 | 0:04:30
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

FROM THE PORTRAITS OF KLIMT,

CREATED IN 19th CENTURY VIENNA,

WE WILL STEP BACK IN TIME AND

PLACE TO PORTRAITS OF 16th

CENTURY FLORENCE.

NOW ON VIEW JUST A FEW BLOCKS

AWAY AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM

IS THE BREATH-TAKING EXHIBITION.

PORTRAITS IN POLITICS 1512,

1570.

IT FEATURES MORE THAN 90 WORKS

OF ART IN A WIDE RANGE OF

MEDIUMS, PAINTINGS, BRONZE AND

MARBLE BUSTS, CARVED GEM STONES,

DRAWINGS, MANUSCRIPTS AND ARMOR.

ON VIEW ARE PORTRAITS BY SOME OF

THE MOST CELEBRATED ARTISTS OF

ITALIAN RENAISSANCE, WORKS THAT

ONE WOULD NEVER THOUGHT WE COULD

SEE TOGETHER IN NEW YORK.

THEY INCLUDE PAINTINGS BY --

LOANS FROM COLLECTIONS

THROUGHOUT EUROPE, NORTH AMERICA

AND AS FAR AWAY AS AUSTRIA.

SOME OF THE GREATEST PORTRAITS

OF WESTERN ART WERE PAINTED IN

FLORENCE DURING THE TUMULTUOUS

YEARS WHEN THE CITY WAS

TRANSFORMED FROM A REPUBLIC WITH

ELECTED OFFICIALS INTO A

TERRITORY RULED BY THE MEDICI

FAMILY.

THE KEY FIGURE IN THIS

TRANSFORMATION WAS -- FOLLOWING

THE AS IS NATION OF HIS

PREDECESSOR.

HE SHREWDLY EMPLOYED CULTURE AS

A POLITICAL TOOL IN ORDER TO

PERVERT THE AMERICAEN TILE CITY

INTO THE CAPITAL OF A DYNASTIC

STATE.

IN DOING SO, HE ENLISTED THE

LEADING INTELLECTUALS AND

ARTISTS OF HIS TIME AND PROMOTED

GRAND ARCHITECTURAL ENGINEERING

AND ARTISTIC PROJECTS.

IN THE YEARS PRIOR TO HIS REIGN,

MOST PORTRAITS BY FLORENTINE

ARTISTS WERE PAINTED IN AN

AUSTERE STYLE THAT REFLECTED THE

TRADITIONAL MORAL VALUES OF THE

REPUBLIC.

PORTRAITS FEATURED SOMBER COLOR

PALETTE, ABSENCE OF DECORATIVE

EMBELLISHMENTS AND DETAILS OF

OBJECTS SERVING TO INDICATE A

SITTER'S PROFESSION.

THE PORTRAITS BECAME RICHER,

DRAWING UPON METAPHOR AND

ALGORRY AS WELL AS MYTHOLOGICAL

AND BIBLICAL SOURCES.

ALSO NOTABLE AS EXAMPLES OF THE

NEWEST TILE ARE RAFAEL'S

PORTRAIT OF LORENZO.

AND JACOB'S PORTRAIT OF

ALEXANDRO.

DEPICTIONS CULTIVATED HIS IMAGE

AS INHATER AND PRESERVER OF THE

GLORY OF THE ENTIRE LINE.

THESE INCLUDE THE PORTRAITS OF

HIS SON AS ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST.

HIS COMPELLING PORTRAITS OF HIS

CHILDREN AS WELL AS HIS WIFE

ASSERTED THE CONTINUITY.

TWO WORKS IN PARTICULAR SHAPED

IN WHICH SITTER'S ARE SHOWN

HOLDING SMALL VOLUMES OF POETRY.

THEY WERE LIKELY MEANT TO SECURE

THE STATUS OF FLORENCE AS HAVING

ITS OWN IMPORTANT LITERARY

CULTURE.

HIS PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG MAN AND

FRANCESCO'S PORTRAIT OF CARLO

TAKE US FURTHER.

THE PRESENCE OF THESE SMALL

VOLUMES SIGNIFIED PATRIOTISM,

SOCIAL AFFILIATION AS WELL AS

PARTISAN ALLEGIANCE.

THE PORTRAITS ON VIEW AT THE

METTE CONVEY THE NEW AND COMPLEX

WAYS THAT ARTISTS PORTRAY THE

ELITE OF FLORENCE.

THEY REPRESENT THE SITTER'S

POLITICAL AND CULTURAL AMBITIONS

AND A CHANGING SENSE OF WHAT IT

MEANT TO BE A FLORENTINE AT THIS

DEFINING MOMENT IN THE CITY'S

HISTORY.

THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW

THROUGH OCTOBER 11th.

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