NYC-Arts visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art to explore their new exhibition, “The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570,” featuring portraits by some of the most celebrated artists of the Italian Renaissance: Bronzino, Raphael, Pontormo, Salviati, and many others.

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FROM THE PORTRAITS OF KLIMT, CREATED IN 19th CENTURY VIENNA, WE WILL STEP BACK IN TIME AND PLACE TO PORTRAITS OF 16th CENTURY FLORENCE.

NOW ON VIEW JUST A FEW BLOCKS AWAY AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM IS THE BREATH-TAKING EXHIBITION.

PORTRAITS IN POLITICS 1512, 1570.

IT FEATURES MORE THAN 90 WORKS OF ART IN A WIDE RANGE OF MEDIUMS, PAINTINGS, BRONZE AND MARBLE BUSTS, CARVED GEM STONES, DRAWINGS, MANUSCRIPTS AND ARMOR.

ON VIEW ARE PORTRAITS BY SOME OF THE MOST CELEBRATED ARTISTS OF ITALIAN RENAISSANCE, WORKS THAT ONE WOULD NEVER THOUGHT WE COULD SEE TOGETHER IN NEW YORK.

THEY INCLUDE PAINTINGS BY -- LOANS FROM COLLECTIONS THROUGHOUT EUROPE, NORTH AMERICA AND AS FAR AWAY AS AUSTRIA.

SOME OF THE GREATEST PORTRAITS OF WESTERN ART WERE PAINTED IN FLORENCE DURING THE TUMULTUOUS YEARS WHEN THE CITY WAS TRANSFORMED FROM A REPUBLIC WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS INTO A TERRITORY RULED BY THE MEDICI FAMILY.

THE KEY FIGURE IN THIS TRANSFORMATION WAS -- FOLLOWING THE AS IS NATION OF HIS PREDECESSOR.

HE SHREWDLY EMPLOYED CULTURE AS A POLITICAL TOOL IN ORDER TO PERVERT THE AMERICAEN TILE CITY INTO THE CAPITAL OF A DYNASTIC STATE.

IN DOING SO, HE ENLISTED THE LEADING INTELLECTUALS AND ARTISTS OF HIS TIME AND PROMOTED GRAND ARCHITECTURAL ENGINEERING AND ARTISTIC PROJECTS.

IN THE YEARS PRIOR TO HIS REIGN, MOST PORTRAITS BY FLORENTINE ARTISTS WERE PAINTED IN AN AUSTERE STYLE THAT REFLECTED THE TRADITIONAL MORAL VALUES OF THE REPUBLIC.

PORTRAITS FEATURED SOMBER COLOR PALETTE, ABSENCE OF DECORATIVE EMBELLISHMENTS AND DETAILS OF OBJECTS SERVING TO INDICATE A SITTER'S PROFESSION.

THE PORTRAITS BECAME RICHER, DRAWING UPON METAPHOR AND ALGORRY AS WELL AS MYTHOLOGICAL AND BIBLICAL SOURCES.

ALSO NOTABLE AS EXAMPLES OF THE NEWEST TILE ARE RAFAEL'S PORTRAIT OF LORENZO.

AND JACOB'S PORTRAIT OF ALEXANDRO.

DEPICTIONS CULTIVATED HIS IMAGE AS INHATER AND PRESERVER OF THE GLORY OF THE ENTIRE LINE.

THESE INCLUDE THE PORTRAITS OF HIS SON AS ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST.

HIS COMPELLING PORTRAITS OF HIS CHILDREN AS WELL AS HIS WIFE ASSERTED THE CONTINUITY.

TWO WORKS IN PARTICULAR SHAPED IN WHICH SITTER'S ARE SHOWN HOLDING SMALL VOLUMES OF POETRY.

THEY WERE LIKELY MEANT TO SECURE THE STATUS OF FLORENCE AS HAVING ITS OWN IMPORTANT LITERARY CULTURE.

HIS PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG MAN AND FRANCESCO'S PORTRAIT OF CARLO TAKE US FURTHER.

THE PRESENCE OF THESE SMALL VOLUMES SIGNIFIED PATRIOTISM, SOCIAL AFFILIATION AS WELL AS PARTISAN ALLEGIANCE.

THE PORTRAITS ON VIEW AT THE METTE CONVEY THE NEW AND COMPLEX WAYS THAT ARTISTS PORTRAY THE ELITE OF FLORENCE.

THEY REPRESENT THE SITTER'S POLITICAL AND CULTURAL AMBITIONS AND A CHANGING SENSE OF WHAT IT MEANT TO BE A FLORENTINE AT THIS DEFINING MOMENT IN THE CITY'S HISTORY.

THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW THROUGH OCTOBER 11th.