The Medici, who had ruled Florence since the early fifteenth century, fell from power in 1529 following the siege of the city during the French Wars. A decade later, Cosimo I de’ Medici restored security and prosperity to the city, while undertaking a military campaign to unify Tuscany under Medici rule. Grand Duke Cosimo and his successors were active patrons of the arts, enriching Tuscan cities with works of art and architecture, and reestablishing the capital city of Florence as a major cultural center.
Grand Duke Cosimo commissioned noted artists—the painter Bronzino and sculptors Giambologna and Bandini, among them—to create his official portraits. Giovanni Bandini executed five busts of Cosimo I to be placed above the portals of Florentine palaces as an honor granted to the important families who lived in them. In all examples, Cosimo is portrayed “all' antica,” wearing a mantle and cuirass in emulation of his ancient Roman Imperial antecedents. This bust epitomizes the dignified formal character of aristocratic portraiture in later sixteenth-century Italy.
Artist Giovanni Bandini, Italian, 1540-1599
Title
  • Bust of Cosimo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Date ca. 1572
Medium Marble bust on green marble socle
Dimensions Overall: 32 × 28 × 10 inches (81.3 × 71.1 × 25.4 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund
Accession Number 1994.1
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View European: Medieval and Renaissance W231, Level 2 (see map)
possibly either for Giovanni Niccolini or for Bernardo Soderini (Florence, Italy).
private collection (France);
Art Market (United Kingdom);
1992-1993, Osata Holdings (England);
1993, (Joanna Barnes Fine Arts);
1994-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
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Vosilla in Florence. 1997, pp. 30-31.

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