We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Italian Renaissance Learning Resources - The National Gallery of Art

Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art

Medici, Eleonora de’

[Eleanora of Toledo], Grand Duchess of Tuscany

(b Naples, 1522; d Pisa, 1562).

First wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici. She was the second daughter of the Viceroy of Naples, Don Pedro di Toledo, Marquis of Francavilla, the Emperor Charles V’s senior lieutenant. In 1539 Cosimo I married her as part of his policy to strengthen his connections with the Emperor. The union appears to have been happy and resulted in 11 children, two of whom eventually succeeded to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany: Francesco I de’ Medici, on Cosimo’s death in 1574, and Ferdinando I de’ Medici in 1587. Spanish by birth, and notably pious, Eleonora retained the influences—and language—of her upbringing throughout her life. Her physical beauty is attested to by a considerable number of portraits by Agnolo Bronzino (e.g. 1546, Florence, Uffizi; 1560, Berlin, Gemäldegal).

Warren Hearnden