Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/10682
Title: Who was Pontormo's Halberdier? The evidence from pathology
Contributor(s): Weisz, George M (author); Albury, William R (author); Lippi, Donatella (author); Matucci-Cerinic, Marco (author)
Publication Date: 2012
DOI: 10.1007/s00296-011-1898-7
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/10682
Abstract: The identity of the young man in Jacopo Pontormo's 'Portrait of a Halberdier' has long been disputed by art historians. Two probable candidates have been identified: Francesco Guardi, a Florentine nobleman, and Cosimo I de' Medici, Duke of Florence from 1537 and Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1569. The present study is intended to help resolve this controversy by providing evidence, based on pathological criteria, for the identification of Pontormo's 'Halberdier'. Pathological anomalies of the finger joints in the left hand of the 'Halberdier' are compared with those in three acknowledged portraits of Cosimo I de' Medici. These three portraits show the hands of Cosimo in approximately the same position as the 'Halberdier's hand, thus allowing a meaningful comparison. Detailed observation indicates that there is a close correspondence between the 'Halberdier's hand deformity and that of Cosimo I in the comparison portraits. This deformity is also consistent with what is known about the medical history of Cosimo I and with the skeletal remains of his left hand. The pathological evidence supports the conclusion that Pontormo's 'Halberdier' is Cosimo I as a young man and that the painting was done around 1537 when Cosimo first became Duke.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Rheumatology International, 32(7), p. 1915-1920
Publisher: Springer
Place of Publication: Berlin, Germany
ISSN: 1437-160X
0172-8172
Field of Research (FOR): 190102 Art History
210307 European History (excl British, Classical Greek and Roman)
220205 History and Philosophy of Medicine
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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