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The Tapestry Series The Life of Man for Cosimo I de’ Medici: A Reconstruction and a Hypothesis as to Its Purpose

Henk Th. van Veen

Published online:

09 Mar 2023



In 1559 Cosimo I de’ Medici commissioned eight tapestries on the subject The Life of Man. These tapestries were destined for the room in the Palazzo Vecchio where Cosimo and his family dined during the winter season. Giorgio Vasari designed the series and Jan van der Straet was responsible for its cartoons; the tapestries were woven by Benedetto di Michele Squilli and Giovanni di Bastiano Sconditi. Until now three tapestries of the series are known to have been preserved. In this article I shall argue that a fourth tapestry can now be added to these three. I will also reconstruct the original appearance of the full series on The Life of Man and put forth a hypothesis as to the purpose it may have served in its original setting.

Other articles in this issue:

Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte Issues

Volume 87 (2024)
Volume 86 (2023)
Volume 85 (2022)
Volume 84 (2021)
Volume 83 (2020)
Volume 82 (2019)
Volume 81 (2018)
Volume 80 (2017)
Volume 79 (2016)

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