The Borgherini bedchamber
The paintings in this room show scenes from the Old Testament story of Joseph. They were made to decorate a bedchamber in the Florentine townhouse of the wealthy banker Pierfrancesco Borgherini on the occasion of his marriage to the noblewoman Margarita Acciaiuoli in 1515.
The bedchamber comprised a dazzling ensemble of carved walnut panelling, including benches, chests and the bed, with pictures set into them. Jacopo Pontormo, Andrea del Sarto, Bacchiacca and Francesco Granacci all contributed works to the scheme. Fourteen of these paintings survive. Two by Bacchiacca and four by Pontormo are displayed in this room.
Pontormo’s are among his most celebrated, demonstrating the extraordinary inventiveness for which he was famed. His restless creativity led him to improvise more than was customary at the time and he frequently changed his compositions, even once the painting was under way.
A painting by Girolamo Macchietti (The Charity of St Nicholas of Bari) depicts the kind of Florentine bedchamber the paintings in this room would have decorated.