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Art, History & Politics, Literature

Eleonora di Toledo and the Creation of the Boboli Gardens

with author Bruce Edelstein

September 19, 2023
6:00 pm

The event will also be broadcast live on our
YouTube, Facebook, and website

Book Presentation
Eleonora di Toledo
and the Creation of the Boboli Gardens

(Sillabe, 2022)

by Bruce Edelstein, NYU Florence

The author in conversation with
Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio, University of Vermont
Yvonne Elet, Vassar College


This book is a study of Eleonora di Toledo as the principal patron of the Boboli Gardens. The gardens were from the outset a project to develop a vast estate in the heart of Renaissance Florence. Thus, Boboli represents a pivotal moment in the history of the aristocratic palace, in which the traditional relationship between architecture and landscape was inverted: extensive, elaborate gardens now assumed the role of protagonist while the palace was initially relegated to a secondary role. Fresh archival research confirms that the duchess was solely responsible for the patronage of the gardens until her death. A key element of this study focuses on Eleonora’s Spanish origins and the development of her taste in viceregal Naples, prompting a reconsideration of Boboli in a larger context, beyond its traditional image as part of a glorious continuum of Medici gardens.

Bruce Edelstein is Coordinator for Graduate Programs and Advanced Research at New York University Florence. His numerous publications focus primarily on the works of sixteenth-century Medici court painters and sculptors, such as Bronzino, Cellini, Pontormo and Tribolo, with a particular emphasis on the artistic patronage of Eleonora di Toledo. He was co-curator of the exhibition Miraculous Encounters: Pontormo from Drawing to Painting, seen at the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence, the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in 2018-19.

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