An allegorical portrait of Dante at Palazzo Vecchio
This year, with the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, the City of Florence presents “Bronzino and the Supreme Poet. An allegorical portrait of Dante at Palazzo Vecchio”. On exhibit in the Salone dei Cinquecento, is the “Allegorical portrait of Dante”, a work by Agnolo Bronzino. The exhibition of the painting, sponsored by the City of Florence, curated by Antonio Natali and Sergio Risaliti and organised by MUS.E, will begin on 12 February and run until 31 May, 2021, and will be included in the museum tour of Palazzo Vecchio.
The history of this lunette is recounted in Giorgio Vasari’s Life of Bronzino. According to Vasari’s reconstruction, in fact, the portrait of Dante that will be exhibited at Palazzo Vecchio is an oil on canvas dating to 1532-1533. The painter was commissioned to make it along with portraits of Petrarch and Boccaccio, to decorate a room in the home of the cultivated Florentine banker Bartolomeo Bettini, with “Tuscan poets who have written verses about love” in the lunettes of the walls. At the centre was a panel depicting “Venus and Cupid” painted by Pontormo after a cartoon by Michelangelo Buonarroti, today preserved in the Galleria dell’Accademia. The ambitious project, which remained unfinished, involved the most important painters working in the city in that period, and dealt with themes cherished by writers of the future Accademia Fiorentina (which Bronzino himself belonged to until 1547), such as the superiority of the Tuscan language and the relationship between art and poetry.
Of the three portraits in Bronzino’s commission, only the one of Dante has survived until today. Known in the past through a preparatory drawing of the poet’s head (preserved in the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich, Bavaria), a copy on wooden panel (preserved in the Kress Collection at the National Art Gallery of Washington) and various graphic reproductions, it was lost for a long time until the canvas showed up in a private Florentine collection and was accepted by critics as the original portrait of Dante, remembered in Vasari’s biography of the artist.
Sponsored by the City of Florence
Curated by Antonio Natali and Sergio Risaliti
Organised by MUS.E
Ufficio Stampa: Tabloid coop per MUS.E
Ludovica V. Zarrilli
Tel. +39 393.9577255
e.mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
Ufficio stampa Comune di Firenze
Elisa Di Lupo
Tel. +39 055 2768531