It’s common today to speak of building one’s brand—everyone from world leaders to precocious teens are worried about their image, shaping their personalities online, creating a persona that straddles reality and the imagined.
For the Medici family, the 16th-century rulers of Florence and Tuscany and patrons of some of the most famous Renaissance artwork, the tools to accomplish this were very different from those of today. However, the objective was the same.
Wesleyan’s Davison Arts Center (DAC) is participating in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art called “The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512-1570,” currently on display through October 11. The exhibition pulls together more than 90 works, including portraits, engravings, busts, medals, and armor, to describe the rise to power of the Medici family after a period of exile, and to show how they used culture to shape public perception.
The DAC is lending a rare 16th-century print commemorating Medici rule over Tuscany. The Met requested the work in early 2020.
“I find this stuff endlessly fascinating. It’s amazing how these fragile pieces of paper, and all art work, survive across the centuries. To be able to work with these [works] and share them with students and the public is something I am really grateful for,” said Miya Tokumitsu, curator of the Davison Art Center.