“You are never too old to set a new goal or dream of another dream”
#PhilosophicalWednesday #7

“You are never too old to set a new goal or dream of another dream”

Pontormo’s name was linked to that of the Medici dynasty right from the creation of this portrait of Cosimo the Elder, actually commissioned by Goro Gheri – a member of the Florentine public administration of the early sixteenth century whose name was linked to that of the Medici Duke of Urbino Lorenzo, precisely to pay homage to the progenitor of the family, perhaps at the request of Giovanni de Medici (better known as Pope Leo X).


Pontormo, Ritratto di Cosimo il Vecchio – Courtesy Uffizi


Since Cosimo had already died a few decades ago, the artist is inspired by his only surviving depiction taken from a fifteenth-century medal, the iconography of which is taken up: he is portrayed in profile, with headdress and cape.

The three P’s indicate it as Pater Patriae Parens, from the oldest laurel (symbol of the family) a new one is born to indicate the continuity of the lineage, as confirmed by the cartouche that with a passage from the Aeneid explains that a broken branch does not weaken the other. Cosimo the Elder, who initiated the great Medici kingdom, stands as a symbol of his entire dynasty: for the family it must not yet be too late to have new goals, to still believe in their own strength.


Ghirlandaio, Ritratto di Vecchio con nipote – Courtesy frammentiarte.it


The dreams of the now elderly Florentine banker Francesco Sassetti are reflected in those of his young nephew, with an almost veil of sadness perhaps due to his advanced age.
Ghirlandaio portrays him with care and in all his imperfections, without eliminating that sense of wisdom and wit that distinguish him.

It is a private portrait, without splendor but with a strong affectionate atmosphere, which enchants in that particular relationship that seems to exist between grandfather and grandson, perhaps because the first closest to death knows that the second will be able to realize all those dreams and desires. which he in life had not yet managed to realize.