A Constructed Identity. Eleanor of Toledo, Duchess of Florence, between Castile, Naples and Tuscany (1539-1564)
Joan-Lluís Palos (University of Barcelona)
Paper short abstract:
Eleanor Alvarez de Toledo’s image was the result of the assembly of three cultural traditions – Castilian, Neapolitan and Florentine – which made her a figure at once local and cosmopolitan.
Paper long abstract:
She was not Duke Cosimo's preferred choice of spouse, but time proved her to be the best decision of his life. His marriage to Eleanor of Toledo, the daughter of the Spanish viceroy in Napes, laid the foundations for the Medicis' dominance in Tuscany during the two subsequent centuries. She was the cornerstone of a courtly formula of unparalleled success. Certain Florentines saw her as "a Spanish barbarian, enemy of her husband's homeland". The truth, however, is that the construction of Eleanor's public identity was the product of a complex operation involving the participation of some of the most prominent artists and writers of the day. Far from simply presenting herself as a Spaniard, her image was the result of the assembly of three cultural traditions - Castilian, Neapolitan and Florentine - which made her a figure at once local and cosmopolitan.