86.0 x 67.0cm panel; 117.5 x 98.5 x 8.0cm frame
Though a sense of surface frigidity characterises everything Bronzino produced, emotional heat underwrites his style. As a pupil and adopted son of perhaps the greatest and strangest of mannerist painters, Jacopo Pontormo, Bronzino graduated to artistic maturity with impeccable credentials in that consciously artificial style. That he asserted his own artistic personality, albeit through a steely formality of technique, testifies to the originality of Bronzino's vision. In this magnificent portrait of his principal patron - a work that exists in many replicas and copies - the painter displays a perfectionism it is hard not to think obsessive. Riven with reflections, highlights and shadows, Cosimo's armour alone is an article of transfixing interest: almost reason enough for the painting. It was Bronzino's habit to concentrate on details of costume, jewellery and decoration, to the extent of conceiving the faces of his ducal sitters as polished stones. Apart from this authoritative example, another celebrated version of the work is found in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.
Olsen Carr Art Dealers (Australia, estab. 1993), Mar 1996, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, Purchased by the AGNSW from Olsen Carr Art Dealers 1996
Private Collection, pre 1996?, with Sotheby's New York, February 1993 and Simon Dickinson Ltd, London June 1995
Cyril Humphris (England), 26 Nov 1971-circa 1990, London/England, [dealer] Purchased at Christie's London 26 November 1971, lot no. 47. On loan to the National Gallery, London 1990
John Granville Morrison (England), 1931-26 Nov 1971, England, by descent, 1st Baron Margadale of Islay, sold Christie's London 26 November 1971, lot no. 47
Hugh Morrison (England, d.1931), 1897-1931, England, by descent
Alfred Morrison (England, b.1821, d.1897), pre 1897, Hindon/Wiltshire/England, label verso records that the painting hung on the 'no.1 Drawing Room Landing' at Fonthill House on 28 December 1887
Thomas Holloway (England, b.1800, d.1883), post 11 May 1872, England, Purchased at Christie's London, 11 May 1872, lot no. 302, 'Plon-Plon and the Prince Napoleon'. Sold to Alfred Morrison.
Napoléon Bonaparte (France), 1860-11 May 1872, France, sold Christie's London, 11 May 1872, lot no. 302, 'Plon-Plon and the Prince Napoleon' bought by Thomas Holloway
Giorgio Orchi (Italy), 1846-1860, Italy, or De' Orchi, bequeathed to Orchi by Count Giovio
Count Paolo Giovio (Italy, d.1846), 1552-1846, Italy, by descent to Count Giovio, the painting was moved in the early 17th century to the Palazzo Giovio, Como
Bishop Paulo Giovio (Italy, d.1552), 1551, Italy, in the collection of Bishop Giovio by 1551
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (Canada), Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and the Renaissance in Florence, 2005, 328 (illus.). fig.121.1, illustrated in reference to cat.no.121, Francesco Salviati 'Portrait of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici' c.1545-46, Koelliker Collection, Milan
'Foundation building' by Michael Wardell, pg.14-17, Look Sep 2004, Sep 2004, 15 (colour illus.).
Bruce James (Australia) (Author), Edmund Capon (England; Australia, b.1940) (Director), Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Domain, 1999, 22 (colour illus.).
'Private Pleasure, Public Gain - the influence of private collections' by Heather Johnson, pg. 58-61., Australian art collector Apr 1998-Jun 1998, Apr 1998-Jun 1998, 60.
Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1997 1997, 1997, 22 (colour illus.).
Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1996 1996, 1996, cover (colour illus.).
'$2.8m for Old Master', pg. 4., The Australian financial review 08 Feb 1996, 08 Feb 1996, 47.
'Wandering Medici finds a home' by Miriam Cosic, pg. 4., The Sydney Morning Herald 08 Feb 1996, 08 Feb 1996, 4 (illus.).
'Duke fetches a record $2.8m', pg. 4., The Australian 08 Feb 1996, 08 Feb 1996, 4 (illus.).
'$3m art coup - NSW gallery makes its dearest deal' by Stewart Hawkins, pg. 9-10., Daily Telegraph 08 Feb 1996, 08 Feb 1996, 9 (illus.), 10.
'Great art find surfaces in Sydney' by Terry Ingram, pg. 20., The Australian financial review 11 Jan 1996, 11 Jan 1996, 20 (illus.). This article appears in the 'Saleroom' section of the newspaper.
''Blessed by the hand of Bronzino': the portrait of Cosimo I in armour' by Robert B. Simon, pg. 387-388., The Burlington Magazine Jun 1987, Jun 1987, 387-388 (illus.). X-ray images of this work appear on both pages.
Apollo Jun 1984, Jun 1984, 125 (illus.).
'Bronzino's portrait of Cosimo I in armour' by R.B. Simon, pg. 527-539, The Burlington Magazine Sep 1983, Sep 1983, cover (colour illus.), 527-39, 529 (colour illus.). fig.no. 9; no. 19
R.B. Simon (Author), Bronzino's Portraits of Cosimo I de' Medici, United States of America, 1982, 86, 87 (Vol. I), 97-134 (Vol. II), A19a-A19f (illus.). cat. no. A19
L Rovelli (Italy) (Author), L'opera storica di Paolo Giovio comasco vescovo di Nocera: il museo dei ruratti, 1928, 143. cat no. 143
E Müntz (Author), Mémoirs de L'Académie des Inscriptions Belles-Lettres, 1900-1901, 273, 331.
N Ponce de León (France) (Author), The Columbus Gallery, 1893, 15.
G.B. Giovio (Italy) (Author), Como e il Lario commentario, 1795, 33.
Author Unknown (Author), Idem, 1575, 390-1. With an engraved illustration probably after a drawing by Tobias Stimmer
G Giovio (Italy) (Author), Elogia vivorum bellica virtute illustrium, 1551, 338-9.
Bronzino, Palazzo Strozzi, 23 Sep 2010–23 Jan 2011.