Research and Recreations by La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia.For accessories in Florence , as in Venice, pearls were very popular. After the mid 16th century, the accessories became more flamboyant and more in keeping with what many consider to be 16th century Italian.
EarringsPearls were common. According to La Mode a Firenze (the most recent published research in the area of Florentine clothing of the time), the Florentine did not commonly wear earrings. The lack of earrings in early 16th century (non-Medici) portraits seem to back this up. It was not until Eleanora arrived on the scene in the 1540's that 'pearl drop' earrings are seen more commonly. This can particularly be seen in portraits of her and her relatives. It is interesting to look at non-Medici portraits to get an idea of what 'the non-ruling classes' were wearing.
Earrings became increasingly decorated as the decades rolled by. Young Bia (illigitimate daughter of Cosimo) shows this with a pearl drop under a gem inlaid in a gold fixture. However, even into the late 1500's, there are many (non-Medici) portraits showing no earrings worn at all. Interestingly, there is one portrait that shows two hoop earrings in the one ear (Allori's Portrait of a Woman, 1560-70) The wearing, or lack of it, could also possibly be due to either the social status of the sitter or the extent of religious observance; A monk called Savonarola came to prominence early in the 1500's, who denounced worldly goods, extravagences, non-religious paintings and self-adornment... among many things.
Below is a selection of portraits from 1520's onwards, with and without earrings.
Some Close up of Earrings.
The first portrait of Maria shows a gem in a gold fitting above the pearl. This is again seen in the 60-70's and in the 1560 portrait of Eleanora di Toledo by Bronzino. There are only a few examples I have seen in portraits of this extent. Most seem ot be relatively simple in appearance.
This can be seen in five examples of earrings, left.
1551: Bronzino's Portrait of Maria d' Cosimo, Uffizi.
1555-58: Allori's Portrait of Maria d'Cosimo (now considered to possibly be Isabella d cosimo)
1558: Bronzino's Portrait of Lucrezia d'Medici
1560: School of Bronzino's Portrait of Isabella d'Medici.
1560-70: Allori's Portrait of a woman.
Thanks to Mistress Oonagh for may discussions on earrings and info on Venice earrings.
© K Carlisle. , 2007-2008
(c). K.Carlisle, 2008.