Maria Salviati (1499-1543) was the daughter of a powerful Florentine banker and descended from Lorenzo de’ Medici on her mother’s side. She married her cousin the condottiero Giovanni de’ Medici (Giovanni delle Bande Nere) in 1516. After her husband’s death, Maria Salviati never remarried, dedicating herself to raising their son. Cosimo went on to become Duke of Florence when he was not yet 18 years old and later was made the first Grand Duke of Tuscany. Throughout her life, Maria Salviati tirelessly promoted the Medici dynasty and was crucial to her son’s success.
May 3, 1531 Letter of Maria Salviati Archivio di Stato di Firenze Portrait by Jacopo Pontormo
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Langdon, Gabrielle. Medici women: portraits of power, love and betrayal from the court of Duke Cosimo I, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006, pp.23-58.
Tomas, Natalie. “Commemorating a Mortal Goddess: Maria Salviati de’ Medici and the Cultural Politics of Duke Cosimo I,” in Practices of Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, Turnhout: Brepols; Abingdon: Marston, 2008, pp. 261-278.
Tomas, Natalie. The Medici Women: Gender and Power in Renaissance Florence, Aldershot, Hampshire, England; Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2003.
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