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Agnolo di Cosimo, November 17, 1503 – November 23, 1572), usually known as Bronzino (Il Bronzino in Italian)[il bronˈdziːno], or Agnolo Bronzino, was a Florentine Mannerist painter. His sobriquet, Bronzino, in all probability refers to his relatively dark skin.
Agnolo Bronzino, whose real name was Agnolo di Cosimo and is most commonly referred to as Il Bronzino or simply Bronzino, was a stand-out artist of the second-wave of Italian Mannerism in the middle of the 16th century. He lived his entire life in Florence and modeled his painting style so closely to that of his mentor, Jacopo Pontormo, that art historians today still debate the credit of several paintings.
Succeeding where Pontormo had not, Bronzino eventually became court painter to the powerful Medici family of Florence and gained notoriety for his portraiture style that meshed a detached realism depicting cold and often arrogant expressions of his noblemen sitters with bold colors such as ice blue and raspberry red. His portraits have proven to be his primary legacy and influenced portraiture painting for a century following his death in 1572.
Bronzino took the principles developed by Pontormo and ran with them. The result was portraits that were immaculately realistic in detail, with his subjects exuding blank, stoic expressions, yet with a sense of nobility and haughtiness. His use of color is primarily what sets Bronzino’s style apart from Pontormo’s and earned him a permanent place among the great Italian Mannerists.