In 1621, at the age of ten, Ferdinand II de' Medici succeeded his father Cosimo II as Grand Duke of Tuscany, assuming power in 1627. He is shown here with Vittoria della Rovere, his wife; the couple had married in 1634.
Ferdinand wears a commander’s sash and the cross of the military order of San Stefano. In his right hand he grips a commander’s baton, while Vittoria holds a fan in hers. The rose in her left hand, positioned between the two figures, could be a symbol of their union.
The poses of the couple are similar to those in individual portraits of them by Sustermans (now in the Uffizi, Florence), who worked as court painter to the rulers of Tuscany from 1619 or 1620. It’s likely that this picture was based on the portraits rather than painted directly from life.
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