Portrait of a Gentlewoman
Agnolo di Cosimo, detto il Bronzino
1550 - 1555
Tempera on wood
The identity of the woman depicted in this masterpiece by the Florentine painter, once considered Eleonora di Toledo, consort of Cosimo I de 'Medici, has been questioned on several occasions, starting from the comparison with the various portraits of the Grand Duchess who Bronzino himself performed, with the usual rigor, according to a precise protocol. This gentlewoman who sits comfortably in an armchair, flaunts her red brocade and silk velvet jacket, over a yellow robe, also made of silk, and stares at the visitor, as she stared at the author of the painting; he also left very evident rings, bracelets, necklace and a circle of pearls, and a long belt-jewel, studded with precious stones. Behind it there is also a beautiful curtain with semitransparent bands. The lady, who shows so much well-being with such ease is, in all probability, Cassandra Cavalcanti, wife of a very wealthy Florentine banker, Pier Antonio Bandini, whose portrait is kept at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Their effigies are mentioned by Giorgio Vasari among Bronzino's works.