Agnolo Bronzino (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano) (b.1503-d.1572) was a Florentine Mannerist painter, pupil and adopted son of Jacopo Pontormo, one of the founders of Florentine Mannerism.
The origin of the nickname Bronzino is uncertain, but possibly derived from his having a dark complexion.
Bronzino was deeply attached to Jacopo Pontormo and his style was heavily indebted to his master. Bronzino developed a rich feeling for color and his paintings are distinguished by a sudden burst of raspberry-red or icy-blue. Bronzino is most famous for his portraits, delicately formal in style with an enamel-like surface. He also painted decorative, allegorical scenes and a great many altarpieces for various Florentine churches. He was less successful as a religious painter, his lack of real feeling leading to empty, elegant posturing, as in The Martyrdom of S. Lorenzo, in which almost every one of the extraordinarily contorted poses can be traced back to Raphael or to Michelangelo. He was court painter to Duke Cosimo I de Medici for most of his career, and his work influenced the course of European court portraiture for a century.
Bronzino was also a poet, and his most personal portraits are perhaps those of other literary figures (Laura Battiferri). Bronzino's skill with the nude was better deployed in the celebrated Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time, which conveys strong feelings or eroticism under the pretext of a moralizing allegory.
He was a much respected figure who took a prominent part in the activities of the Florence Academy of Fine Arts, of which he was a founder member in 1563. His pupils included Alessandro Allori, who in a curious mirroring of his own early career was also his adopted son.
Agnolo Bronzino died in 1572, in San Lorenzo, where, since 1569, he had been working on a large fresco, which was completed by his pupil Alessandro Allori.