Garzia de' Medici

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Garzia de' Medici
Angelo Bronzino - Garcia de' Medici - WGA3255.jpg
Garzia by Bronzino
Born5 July 1547
Died(1562-12-06)6 December 1562 (aged 15)
HouseHouse of Medici
FatherCosimo I
MotherEleanor of Toledo
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Garzia de' Medici (July 5, 1547 – December 6, 1562) was the son of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Eleanor of Toledo. He was the subject of a famous painting by Bronzino when he was an infant. He was born in Florence and died of malaria along with his mother while traveling to Pisa, a few days after his brother, Cardinal Giovanni, also died of the disease.[1]

Early years[edit]

Born in Florence, he was the son of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Eleanor of Toledo. His parents had planned for him a military career, and at only 13 years old he had been named Honorary Commander and Supreme Commander of the Tuscan galleys.

Malaria and death[edit]

In 1562, he accompanied his father and brothers Giovanni and Ferdinando, to the Tuscan coast to embark to Spain, where the eldest son Francesco lived. But his mother Eleanor and the children contracted malaria, and all except Ferdinando died in a few weeks.

Many of sudden deaths in the family of the Duke immediately aroused the suspicions of the family, who also attended the Council of Trent. Several sources confirm, however, that during the period there was a violent flu epidemic.

Image of Garzia dei Medici
Adriaen Haelwegh, Garzia dei Medici, before 1691, engraving on laid paper; plate: 35.2 x 25 cm (13 7/8 x 9 13/16 in.); sheet: 37.1 x 26.8 cm (14 5/8 x 10 9/16 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington. Gift of John O'Brien, accession no. 1997.132.9

Centuries after his death, a myth arose saying that Garzia had murdered his brother, Giovanni, following a dispute in 1562. In turn, his father Cosimo, furious, killed Garzia with his own sword. However, modern exhumations showed no signs of violence on the bodies and found to have died together of malaria in 1562.