A Discerning Eye
This chapter will focus on Vittoria della Rovere’s art patronage of male artists. I will argue that the Grand Duchess was a dynamic patron, with a discerning eye and discriminating taste. She gathered at her court some of the most significant artists of her day, not only from Florence, but also other artistic centres throughout Italy and the continent. At times she was the first to introduce these artists into the Medici court, where they gained further patronage. Her tastes were thus avant-garde, wide-ranging and eclectic, from the new vogue for still-life painting and historiated landscapes to religious altarpieces, frescoes and small cabinet pictures. Vittoria was also very interested in the applied and decorative arts, which will be further explored. It emerges that the Grand Duchess was a very loyal patron, supporting some of these artists throughout their artistic careers, such as Baldassare Franceschini and Carlo Dolci. Her art patronage compares with that of her brothers-in-law, Leopoldo and Giovan Carlo de’ Medici.