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Cosimo III de' Medici

male / Italian
art collector, collector of Dutch and Flemish painting, noble
Cosimo III was the penultimate Grand Duke of Tuscany, reigning from 1670 till 1723. During his unprecedented reign of 53 years he brought the Florence economy, already nearly bankrupt at his ascension, to an all time low. This was however also to be attributed to the extravagances of his wife, Marguerite Louise d' Orleans. The volatile marriage was never a happy one and the spouses never lived together again after the birth of their three children (Ferdinando, Anna Maria Luisa, the future Electress Palatine and Gian Gastone, the last Grand Duke. To escape his unhappy domestic situation he went on extensive travels, encouraged by his father. He was a passionate collector of art, among which Dutch paintings that he bought during his travels in The Netherlands took a special place. To this end he employed agents like Giovacchino Guasconi, del Vigna and Francesco Ferroni. He also acquired works of art through the mediation of his son-in-law, the Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm. It is ascertained that he bought two still-lifes during his travels from J.D. de Heem and two by Maria van Oosterwijk. The Palazzo Pitti houses two still-lifes by Willem van Aelst and two by Rachel Ruysch. He further ordered works by artists like Frans van Mieris, Jan van Kessel, Jan de Heem, Willem Drost, Gerard Dou, Gerard ter Borch and many others, several of whom still in Florence. In 1677 he took three of the most famous antique statues, the Wrestlers, the Medici Venus and the Arrotino (the "Blade-Sharpener"), from the Villa Medici in Rome, with the permission of pope Innocence XI, but to the intense chagrin of the Romans and had them installed in the Uffizi in Florence.
Florence 1642-08-14
Florence 1723-10-31
Family relationships
this field records any family relationship to one or more other artist(s).
eldest son of Ferdinando II de' Medici (1621-1670) and Vittoria della Rovere; husband of Margaretha Louise of Orléans (niece of King Louis XIV), father of his successor Gian Gastone (1671-1737), of Ferdinando (1663-1713) and of Anna Maria Luisa (1667-1743), wife of the Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm
See also
In this field, you will find references to names of groups or to the artists that made/make up groups. You may also come across references to other artists if there was/is question of collaboration without a joint name. This is the case, for instance, with artists who rendered parts of works by other artists (such as with P.P Rubens and J. Brueghel I).
Cosimo employed Van Achelom in 1667, who settled in Florence in 1668.
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Biographical information
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  • Florence 1670 - 1723
  • Tirol (deelstaat) 1667-10-28
    We are informed over some stages of his travels by the detailed travel journal by the Italian scientist, diplomat, philosopher and poet Lorenzo Magalotti (1637-1712), who for some time made the trip in his company. Cosimo started his European travel in Tyrol as a guest of his aunt, Anna de Medici, Archduchess of Further Austria, where he arrived with his entourage of 18 people in 14 carriages, together with six cooks and his secretary, Appolino Bassetti, on 28 October.
  • Mainz 1667
    He travelled from Tirol to Amsterdam by barge over the river Rhine and its continuations in The Netherlands; he met the Elector in Mainz.
  • Amsterdam (stad) 1667-12-19 - 1667-12-31
    The company arrived in Amsterdam on 19 December and stayed privately in a house on Keizersgracht. They visited the Amsterdam admirality and the warehouses of the VOC, as Cosimo wanted to start an Italian East India company. Cosimo III was guided by Pieter Blaeu and visited a.o. Amsterdam, Leiden and The Hague. Here he visited several art collectors like Gerrit Uylenburgh, Nicolaes Witsen, Franciscus Sylvius, Frederik Ruysch, Jan Swammerdam and Theodor Kerckring and 15 painters in their studio´s among whom Rembrandt, Bartholomeus van der Helst, Ludolf Bakhuizen, Willem van de Velde, Otto Marseus van Schriek, Nicolaes Maes, Caspar Netscher and many others. He bought four small paintings by Netscher, two of which are still in the Uffizi (The Cook and The Lace Maker). Around Christmas he visited some hidden catholic churches and visited some social institutions, like the Rasphuis [prison for men] and the madhouse on Kloveniersburgwal. On 30 December they attended a private show in the theatre (in Dutch).
  • Den Haag (stad) 1668-01
    Cosimo visited the Prince of Orange, the future William III, on 12 January. To enliven the party, Johan de Witt introduced Cosimo to some attractive young women. Later on he had a meeting with Prince Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, who had made travels to South America and had been governor of Dutch Brasil.
  • Leiden (stad) 1668-01
    He visited the geologist Niels Stensen and payed a visited to the Hortus Botanicus. He refused to see, however, Baruch Spinoza (then living in nearby Rijnsburg).
  • Antwerpen (stad) 1668
    visit to a.o. the Plantin Moretus house
  • Mechelen 1668
  • Brussel 1668
    He took the opportunity here to order several tapestries for Florence.
  • Amsterdam (stad) 1668
    He was back in the North around Ash-wednesday. He bought a self-portrait from Rembrandt, that is still in the Corridor in the Uffizi, Florence.
  • Bad Bentheim
  • Hamburg (stad)
  • Florence 1668-05 - 1668-09
    After his return his wife's ranting caused him unprecedented stress and brought on a deterioration of his fysical and mental health, which made a second European journey necesarry, ordered by his father.
  • Livorno (stad)
    Magalotti was a member of Cosimo 27 strong personal entourage with the assignement top keep a diary
  • Barcelona (stad)
  • Madrid (stad, Spanje) 1668-09 - 1668-10
    The company spent a whole month in Madrid. Private audience with the Spanish king, 8 year old, retarded, Carlos II.
  • Córdoba (stad, Spanje)
  • Sevilla (stad)
  • Granada (stad, Spanje)
  • Talavera de la Reina
  • Badajoz (stad)
  • Setúbal (stad)
  • Lissabon (stad) 1669-01 - 1669-03
    The company left Portugal via Caminha on 1 March
  • Galicia (autonome regio, Spanje)
  • La Coruña
  • Kinsale (Schotland)
    They were thrown off course by a storm.
  • Plymouth
  • Londen (Engeland) 1669
    He spent three months in London, meeting with a.o. Charles II and Samuel Pepys. Samuel Cooper painted his miniature, now in the Royal Collection. Cosimo also visited John Michael Wright's studio and there ordered a portrait of the Duke of Albemarle. Cosimo enjoyed his English visit and turned into a real anglophile.
  • Oxford (Engeland) 1669
    visit to the University
  • Cambridge (Engeland) 1669
    Visit to the University
  • Rotterdam (stad) 1669-06-14
    He visited several people, among whom Coenraad van Beuningen. He picked up several paintings that he had ordered earlier.
  • Amsterdam (stad) 1669
    On his last day in Amsterdam he ordered a self-portrait by Rembrandt. He also bought a perspective painting by Jan van der Heyden.
  • Haarlem (stad)
  • Alkmaar (plaats)
  • Hoorn (plaats, Noord-Holland)
  • Enkhuizen (plaats)
  • Stavoren 1669-06-26
  • Molkwerum 1669-06-26
  • Delft (stad)
    Here he met the widow and three daughters of admiral Maerten Tromp and saw several very good paintings.
  • Nijmegen (stad)
  • Aken
  • Spa
  • Parijs 1669
    He was received here by Louis XIV and his mother-in-law, Marguerite de Lorraine.
  • Lyon
  • Marseille
  • Florence 1669-11-01 - 1700
    The whole travel-group was back in Florence on 1 November. Cosimo became Grand Duke after his father's death on 23 May 1670. As governing the near-bankrupt Florence was not his greatest hobby, he left it to his mother the Dowager Vittoria. His wife gave birth amidst all these tribulations to Gian Carlo, the last Grand Duke. She went to live at Poggio a Caiano, heavily guarded, almost as a prisoner. It took her to 26 December 1674, before Cosimo allowed her to retire to the Convent in Monmartre on a pension, renouncing her princely prerogatives. she left in January, never to return. At the beginning his wife's unruly behavior in France (nude bathing, affairs with servants, money spending, setting fire to the convent etc.) bothered Cosimo no end. After a while he stopped thinking about her. His new preoccupation was a fierce and active anti-semitism. Florence more and more became economically destitute. Cosimo further crippled the state with new taxes and numeral moral laws, making life in Florence unbearable. To make things worse, he gave the Jesuits the monopoly on teaching, forbidding all kinds of teachings at the University of Pisa, other then Aristotle.
  • Rome 1700-05
    Cosimo went on a pilgrimage to Rome
  • Florence 1700 - 1723-10-31
    Cosimo left Florence one of the poorest regions of Europe. he was succeded by his son Gian Gastone, who was known for going through money in at an unprecedented pace
Teacher at academy/university
Accademia Fiorentina (Rome)
founded under the supervision of Cosimo III in 1673 in the Palazzo Madama
born in
active in
died in
Creation date: 2011-11-21; Last modified date: 2023-05-16


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