These days you might send selfies to your crushes, but back in sixteenth-century Florence, you’d have a portrait made of yourself as a Greek hero to send to your beloved. In this case, Duke Cosimo I de’Medici had a painting made of himself as Orpheus, the musician who went to Hades to rescue his wife and who played his harp to calm the three-headed dog, Cerberus, who guarded Hades. The painting may have been a gift for his new wife to impress her with his bravery and devotion to her.  

Portrait of Cosimo I de’Medici as Orpheus,” c. 1537–39, by Agnolo Bronzino

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