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Event Details

Tue, November 29, 2016

18:00 – 19:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Florence, ITALY

Any estimation of what is innovative about the Boboli Gardens created for Eleonora di Toledo, after her acquisition of the Pitti Palace and its adjacent property from the heirs of the Pitti family in February 1550, requires comparison with earlier and contemporary projects. Most analyses of the Boboli have considered its place within a specifically Medici context of villa and garden patronage, part of a glorious continuum stretching from Cosimo the Elder to Eleonora’s consort, Cosimo I, and beyond to their children and grandchildren.

Some attention has also been given to contemporary developments in papal Rome, but little attempt has been made to consider how the complex might have fit into the Spanish imperial world to which Eleonora, her father and her husband all belonged. In the highly competitive environment of the court of Charles V, Naples served as an essential laboratory for models of cultural patronage exported back to Spain and to other parts of the Mediterranean world dominated by the Hapbsburgs. This talk attempts to clarify the Florentine garden’s relationship to some key complexes created in other capitals of the Hapsburg’s Mediterranean Empire.

Featured Biographies

Bruce L. Edelstein

Coordinator for Graduate Programs and Advanced Research at NYU Florence

Bruce L. Edelstein (Ph.D., Harvard 1995) is Coordinator for Graduate Programs and Advanced Research at NYU Florence, where he teaches art history and serves on the local Academic Advisory Committee and the New York-based Site Specific Advisory Committee. He is Affiliated Faculty in the department of Italian Studies at NYU New York. His research interests regard the mechanisms of court patronage and the exercise of female authority in Early Modern Italy. He has held teaching positions at the Florida State University Florence Study Center, Syracuse University in Italy and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and curatorial positions at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Fogg Museum in Cambridge, Mass. In 2014, he was named Honorary Member of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno di Firenze. During the academic year 2015-16, he was Guest Scholar at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. His publications include articles on Eleonora di Toledo’s investment policy, the typology of the Albertian hortus, the hydraulic system of the lost Neapolitan villa of Poggioreale, the iconography of Abundance in the courtly persona of Eleonora di Toledo, and various studies on works by Medici court painters and sculptors, such as Bronzino, Cellini and Tribolo.