By Anne Leader
On 27 May 1626, Giusto Suttermans delivered his painting The Senators of Florence Swearing Allegiance to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, considered a masterpiece by contemporaries. Several oil sketches and preparatory drawings survive as do prints by Cosimo Mogalli (d. 1730) after the great painting. A native of Flanders (and known in his hometown Antwerp as Justus), Giusto moved to Florence as a young man to enter the service of Grand Duke Cosimo II de’Medici. His grand painting was commissioned to celebrate Ferdinando’s accession to lead the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The reclining nude figure, following classical river god images, represents the Arno. Ferdinando sits between his mother Maria Maddalena of Austria and his grandmother Christine of Lorraine.
The Senators of Florence swearing Allegiance to Ferdinando II de’ Medici, oil on canvas, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum of Art, Purchased with the assistance of the Museums & Galleries Commission/Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of the Ashmolean, 1974; WA1974.3
Cosimo Mogalli, prints after Giusto Sustermans, 1778
Print after portrait of Sustermans by Anthony Van Dyck