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The Medici family ruled Florence without interruption between 1434 and 1494, but following their return to power in 1512, Cosimo I de’ Medici demonstrated an unprecedented ability to wield culture as a political tool. His rule transformed Florence into a dynastic duchy and give Florentine art the central position it has held ever since. As Florence underwent these dramatic political transformations in the sixteenth century, portraits became an essential means of recording a likeness and conveying a sitter’s character, social position, and cultural ambitions. This fascinating book explores the ways that painters (including Jacopo Pontormo, Agnolo Bronzino, and Francesco Salviati), sculptors (such as Benvenuto Cellini), and artists in other media endowed their works with an erudite and self-consciously stylish character that distinguished Florentine portraiture. Featuring more than ninety remarkable paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and medals, this volume is written by a team of leading international authors and presents a sweeping, penetrating exploration of a crucial and vibrant period in Italian art.