Evening lecture

Bruce Edelstein: Revisiting the Visitation: New Research on Pontormo during the Last Florentine Republic, 1528-30

In this talk, I will present some of my recent work on three of Pontormo's paintings from the period of the last Florentine Republic and the devastating imperial siege that led to its fall: the Carmignano Visitation, the Portrait of a Halberdier, and the Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap (all currently on display in the Galleria Palatina at Palazzo Pitti). Scientific analyses, undertaken in preparation for the conservation of the Visitation carried out in 2013-2014 by Daniele Rossi, illuminate aspects of Pontormo's technique. These discoveries, when analyzed in relation to the artist's drawing practices, allow us to understand something more about the processes that led to the creation of Pontormo's exceptional results as a portrait painter, in addition to his highly original devotional works. Further research permits a clearer understanding of the Visitation in relation to local iconographical traditions and greater precision regarding its history in its current location.


Bruce Edelstein is Coordinator for Graduate Programs and Advanced Research at NYU Florence, where he teaches art history and serves in an advisory role for academic planning. He is Affiliated Faculty in the department of Italian Studies at NYU New York. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1995 after completing a dissertation on the patronage of Duchess of Florence Eleonora di Toledo, a reflection of his broader interest in mechanisms of court patronage and the exercise of female authority in Renaissance and Early Modern Italy. He has held teaching positions at the Florida State University Florence Study Center, Syracuse University in Italy and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and curatorial positions at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Fogg Museum in Cambridge, Mass. During the academic year 2001-2, he was a fellow at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti. In 2014, he was named Honorary Member of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno di Firenze, while in 2015-16, he was Guest Scholar at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. His publications include: articles on Eleonora di Toledo's biography, iconography and artistic patronage; studies on sixteenth-century Medici gardens; and essays on works by Medici court painters and sculptors, such as Bronzino, Cellini and Tribolo. He is completing a book on the early history of the Boboli Gardens under the patronage of Eleonora di Toledo. Miraculous Encounters: Pontormo from Drawing to Painting, the exhibition he has curated together with Davide Gasparotto, will open in May 2018 at the Uffizi in Florence, and will travel subsequently to the Morgan Library in New York and the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

23 May 2018, 6:00pm

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut

Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51
50122 Firenze


This event will be documented photographically and/or recorded on video. Please let us know if you do not agree with the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz using images in which you might be recognizable for event documentation and public relation purposes (e.g. social media).


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