c.1540. Oil on panel. 104 x 85 cm. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy. Read Note.
Bartolomeo Panciatichi the Younger
Bartolomeo was born in 1507 in France, into the family of Bartolomeo Panciatichi the Elder, a rich merchant and owner of a large trading company in the French city of Lyon, which at the time was a thriving cultural and commercial center due to being situated at the border of France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany.
Due to his father’s close cooperation with the French monarchs, going as far as financially backing Louis XII’s conquest of Milan, Bartolomeo became a page in Francis’s court at a young age and spent most of his early years in Lyon, where he also met and married Lucrezia Gismondo Pucci in 1528. Rather than following in his father’s footsteps, Bartolomeo the Younger took little interest in running the family’s company and left its management in the hands of some close relatives shortly after his father’s death, instead preferring to study politics and humanities.
In 1539 he moved with his family to Florence, where his profound expertise in foreign affairs quickly gained him the interest and support of local nobility, with Grand Duke Cosimo I de’Medici appointing him as the city’s official consul to France in 1545. With Bartolomeo’s help, by 1547 the Grand Duchy of Tuscany had renewed its deteriorating relationship with the French King Henry II.
Sometime during this period, Bartolomeo developed an interest in the Protestant Reformation, bringing over to Florence a number of Reformist books and starting a propaganda campaign to garner support and converts. However, in 1551 a repentant Anabaptist by the name of Peter Manelfi, under pressure of the Inquisitor of Bologna, revealed the names of many of Florence’s reformists, among them Panciatichi, leading to their arrests. Bartolomeo was released from prison upon payment of a ransom and swearing repentance to the Medici, who were then strong supporters of Catholic Revival.
Despite this setback, Bartolomeo was forgiven his heresy and went on to become a senator in Florence, and afterwards an official commissioner in several nearby cities including Pisa and his father’s hometown, Pistoia.
Bartolomeo died in 1582.
See also: Agnolo Bronzino. Portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi.