The Life of Florentine Patrician Agnolo Guicciardini (1525-1581): An Independent Cultural Administrator in the Medici Duchy
Heritage and Art Department of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, The Hague
This paper addresses the question of the extent to which Agnolo Guicciardini (1525–1581) helped shape the (cultural) identity of the Medici court in the second half of the sixteenth century by examining his role as luogotenente of the Accademia del Disegno and organizer of Cosimo I’s obsequies.
Agnolo Guicciardini, nephew of the great historian, played an important role in the early days of the Accademia del Disegno. He acted as mediator between the court and the artists’ academy between 1565 and 1570 in the role of Borghini’s successor as luogotenente of the institution. Unpublished documents preserved in the Guicciardini archive attest to his pivotal role in the move of the academy to its new location in Cestello in 1567. Furthermore, the documents show that Agnolo was not an extension of the Medici court; he was able to pursue his own policy with regard to artistic matters, thereby partly shaping the cultural policy of Cosimo I.
Several years later, in 1574, Agnolo organized the grand duke’s obsequies together with the deputati Vincenzio Borghini, Tommaso de’ Medici and Giulio de’ Nobili. Until now, only Borghini has been credited for the organization of this enormous event. New archival material shows how important Agnolo’s contribution was in the creation of the obsequies and of the messages they had to convey. The sources also show to what extent the deputati relied on earlier European court funerals, most notably that of Charles V in Brussels in 1558.