One of the most prolific artists of the 1600s in Florence, Jacopo Ligozzi signed many of his works with the title di minio, miniaturist, suggesting the importance he attached to his small-scale works. His contribution to Medici art of this period, however, was anything but small, as he was a versatile large-scale painter, draftsman, and printmaker, as well as miniature painter.
Born to a Verona family of painters and artisans, Ligozzi went to Florence in 1576 to work for the Medici. Quickly recognized for his talents, he was admitted into the prestigious Accademia del Disegno. Soon after, to fill the gap left by Giorgio Vasari's recent death, Ligozzi was madecapomaestro (chief head) of the Florentine granducal artistic workshop, soprintendente della galleria (superintendent of the gallery), and first painter to the court. As court painter to Grand Dukes Francesco I, Ferdinando I, Cosimo II, and Ferdinando II, Ligozzi specialized in portraits and animal subjects. He also drew scientific studies of natural objects, sketched people in costumes, painted frescoes and religious paintings, and supplied designs for works to be executed inpietre dure (hardstones).