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Portrait of Maria Salviati de' Medici with Giulia de' Medici
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Portrait of Maria Salviati de' Medici with Giulia de' Medici

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Pontormo (called by the name of his birthplace) was esteemed by the Medicis for his ability to capture the individuality of his sitters, while emphasizing their aristocratic demeanor. Maria Salviati was the wife of famous military leader Giovanni delle Bande Nere de' Medici (d. 1526) and the mother of Cosimo I (1519-1574), grand duke of Tuscany. The little girl holding her hand here is probably Giulia, a Medici relative who was left in Maria's care after the murder of the child's father, Duke Alessandro de' Medici (1511-1537). As Alessandro was born of a liaison between a Medici cardinal and a servant who, tradition has it, was African, this formal portrait may be the first of a girl of African ancestry in European art. The child was painted over sometime during the 19th century but was rediscovered during a 1937 cleaning of the work. Although Maria still wears the clothing of mourning for her deceased husband, Pontormo's elegant style conveys her aristocratic grace through her impossibly long fingers and her fashionably pale color (indicative of a life led out of the sun), which she shares with Giulia. For more information on this painting, please see Federico Zeri's 1976 catalogue no. 211, pp. 325-328.
Date Description Narrative
12/31/1969Examinationexamined for condition
12/31/1969Examinationexamined for exhibition
12/31/1969Treatmentcleaned; x-ray
2/05/1937Examinationexamined for condition
2/05/1937Treatmentcradle removed; x-ray
9/10/1940Treatmentcoated; loss compensation; other
1/01/1953Examinationexamined for condition
12/21/1960Treatmentother; surface cleaned
12/21/1960Treatmentcleaned; coated
3/01/1986Treatmentloss compensation; coated
12/04/1986Examinationexamined for condition
12/04/1986Treatmentexamined for condition; other; varnish removed or reduced
12/04/1986Treatmentcradle removed; examined for condition; inpainted; other; varnish removed or reduced
8/01/1987Treatmentcleaned; coated; loss compensation; other
8/01/1987Treatmentcoated; inpainted; other; varnish removed or reduced
11/01/2000Loan Considerationexamined for loan
11/12/2000Loan Considerationexamined for loan
11/12/2000Examinationcradle removed; examined for loan
11/12/2000Examinationexamined for loan
10/15/2003Examinationexamined for loan
10/20/2003Loan Considerationexamined for loan
10/24/2011Examinationexamined for loan
  • Undercover Stories in Art. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1980.
  • Going for Baroque. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995-1996.
  • Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
  • Virtue and Beauty: Leonardo's Ginevra de'Benci and Renaissance Portraits of Women. National Gallery of Art, Washington. 2001-2002.
  • The Legacy of Michelangelo. Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit. 2002-2003.
  • Pontormo, Bronzino, and the Medici: The Transformation of the Renaissance Portrait. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. 2004-2005.
  • Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton. 2012-2013.
Provenance Medici Collections; Riccardo Romolo Riccardi, Palazzo Gualfonda, Florence, prior to 1612 [inventory of 1612, Florence, Archivio di Stato, Carte Riccardi, fil. 258, c.21r-23r, as "un quadro di br.a uno e mezzo della Sig.ra D. Maria Medici con una puttina per mano di Jacopa da Pontormo"] until after 1814 [Florence, Archivio di Stato, Carte Riccardi, fil. 278, as "no 147 un quadro rappresenta un ritratto di donna con una bambina"] [mode of acquisition unknown]; Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome, prior to 1881 [mode of acquisition unknown] [1881 catalogue: no. 79; 1897 catalogue: no. 381, as Sebastiano del Piombo]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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ca. 1539 (Renaissance)
oil on panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Painted surface: H: 34 5/8 x W: 28 1/16 x D: 3/8 in. (88 x 71.3 x 1 cm); Framed H: 44 1/2 x W: 36 1/4 x D: 3 1/2 in. (113.03 x 92.08 x 8.89 cm)

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