Japan’s first public exhibition of the Medici treasures
The Silver Museum in Florence’s Palazzo Pitti houses the collection of the Medici family, patrons of Renaissance artistry. One outstanding highlight is the range of ancient and medieval cameos that fascinated Lorenzo il Magnifico (‘Lorenzo the Magnificent’), the Medici family member responsible for creating Florence’s ‘golden age’, and said to have a ‘the character of an artist and the soul of a monarch’. Renaissance tastes are characterized by a profound respect for ancient Grecian and Roman culture, and thus many pieces around this time drew their inspiration from these cultures’ myths. This is represented in this exhibition too, with items such as Pendant with Bacchus and Ariadne Cameo, Pendant with Graces Cameo, Pendant with Minerva and the Infant Heracles Cameo, and so on. We hope you will join us in witnessing the first display of these precious items in Asia.
The glory and tragedy of a tempestuous family history, told through portraits and jewellery
The exhibition will feature 20 portraits of key Medici figures, as well as 60 pieces of jewellery owned by the family. The portraits displayed include Lorenzo Il Magnifico, creator of Florence’s ‘golden age’; Cosimo I de’ Medici, First Grand Duke of Tuscany; Caterina de’ Medici, wife to the French King Henri II; Maria de’ Medici, wife to French King Henri IV; and the final scion of the House of Medici, Anna Maria Luisa, who donated all the family’s treasure to the Duchy of Tuscany on the twin provisions that it must not leave Florence, and must be open for viewing to the public. Each of these portraits of the members of the Medici family, whose stories each held their own unique dramas, as well as each piece of jewellery they wore, helps tells the story of the family whose members served as the Grand Dukes of Florence and Tuscany.
The first showing in Japan of the portrait of Maria de’ Medici, who lived until the age of just 17
This exhibition marks the first showing on Japanese soil of Portrait of Maria de’ Medici, eldest daughter to Cosimo I de’ Medici, First Grand Duke of Tuscany, and his wife, the Spanish noblewoman Eleonora di Toledo. Maria’s mother Eleonora was a renowned beauty, and dearly loved by Cosimo I. Looking at this portrait, we sense that Maria had inherited her mother’s good looks. When Maria passed away at the age of 17, Cosimo I was said to be devastated. The portrait was painted by Agnolo Bronzino (1503-1572), and is a beautiful demonstration of the radiant smooth depiction characteristic of this painter.
Savour the gems from the Medici collection in luscious Art Deco surroundings
The Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, known as ‘the Art Deco building’, was built in 1933 as the residence of Prince Asaka. Exhibiting art in the intimate surroundings of this former residence immediately makes the works seem more immediate and relevant. Looking at the portraits of the Medici family and their jewellery in this homely interior, viewers may well feel the presence of these Renaissance figures so intimately and close at hand that they will almost be able to hear them breathing. In this sense, we are pleased to offer our visitors a totally unique and unrepeatable experience.