For my first work on Lorenzo I decided to fashion a full-length portrait and surround it with related subsidiary motifs. I always “see” Lorenzo dressed in black, so I painted him this way and added some white and red diamonds and checks to avoid a somber look. The fleur de lis featured on the walls is the official symbol of Florence and Lorenzo also holds a real lily which I found a model for in a contemporary Florentine painting by Carlo Crivelli. On the board in the window is a drawing of the profile view of Verrocchios’s bust of Lorenzo with, in red, the three interlocking rings which were Lorenzo’s personal symbol. A sculptured version of Botticelli’s Venus recalls the artist’s close relations with the Medici family. Out the window, across the Arno River, can be seen the dome and campanile of Florence’s cathedral and the tower of the government palace. There has always seemed to me to be a feline element in Lorenzo’s character; his smoothness, elegance, and formidable nature led me to add a black panther to the scene. On the floor are strewn the red Palle – the discs that were the family’s emblem. Because Lorenzo is one of the greatest “patron saints” in art history, I could not resist putting a late Gothic style halo around his head.
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