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The Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art: The Fashioning of a Public Persona: Duchess Eleonora di Toledo's Ceremonial Dress and Her Portraits by Bronzino

Janet Cox-Rearick, distinguished professor of art history, City University of New York. Professor Janet Cox-Rearick reveals the secret of Bronzino's success as the only portrait painter for Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo de' Medici, duke of Florence, in this Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art recorded on November 12, 2000. In the Renaissance, fashion and the act of fashioning could transform the wearer. Following from the Italian proverb that cloth and color lend honor to a man, the choice of clothing and jewels and their degree of traditionalism, innovation, and luxury was dictated by a social hierarchy. After 1537 under Duke Cosimo I, ceremony clothes became a semiological system designed to present the public persona of their princely wearers. In this lecture, Cox-Rearick explains four types of documentary and visual evidence about the ceremonial dress worn by Eleonora di Toledo.