Allegory of Patience - Giorgio Vasari and Gaspar Becerra
Allegory of Patience – Giorgio Vasari and Gaspar Becerra

The Galleria Palatina is organising an exhibition on one of the most significant paintings in the Medici collections, the Allegory of Patience, which belonged to cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici and is today held in the Sala di Prometeo in Palazzo Pitti. Initially attributed to Parmigianino in the inventories of Palazzo Pitti, catalogued in the museum’s first guides under the name of Francesco Salviati, and later attributed to Girolamo Siciolante by Federico Zeri, the painting is today recognised as fruit of the collaboration between Giorgio Vasari and Spanish artist Gaspar Becerra. Shortly after 1550, Cosimo I requested Vasari to execute a painting that in a new and emblematic manner would represent the principal virtue of his character, that is to say the art of Patience. Vasari accepted and proposed to his patron an invention inspired by ancient sculpture, enriched by a refined symbolic repertory alluding to time and to the life of man.

Why did Vasari’s invention enjoy such a great success though? Why was the virtue of Patience considered so important in the art and literature of the peak of the Renaissance? Anna Bisceglia curates the exhibition and the catalogue published by Sillabe to investigate these elements along the underlying themes of patronage, literary sources, and artists’ explorations against the complex and fascinating backdrop of the Italy of royal courts.