The 16th century saw the rise of the new Medici. Distant relatives to the famous patrons such as Lorenzo Il Magnifico. One of the more interesting examples of one of these later Medici and their intimate relationship with art was Francesco I de' Medici (1541-1587), and his creation of the private study/museum known as lo studiolo. The project was overseen by the great Giorgio Vasari and included contributions by many leading painters and artisans.
Finding a detailed and definitive source on this particular collection has been difficult. We know that Francesco's original studiolo was dismantled immediately after his death, and that it was only reconstructed in the last Century, with several sources telling us the reconstruction is inaccurate in some respects, but does in some way capture the original spirit of Francesco's private collection.
A lovely hi-resolution picture posted in May 2010 by Flickr user urukai1964.
The studiolo was built between 1570-1575 within the Palazzo Vecchio - originally a municipal building but later commandeered as a Palace by the Ducal Medici. This building is now again in public hands, and apart from being a museum attraction, also forms offices of the current Mayor of Florence. The Palazzo Vecchio Museum website lists some further details and images of the studiolo, also known as The cabinet of wonders.
Here is a lovely snippet from the BBC Four documentary The Medici - Makers of Modern Art. This documentary was first aired in 2008 and is presented by Andrew Graham Dixon.
If anyone is aware of a definitive English language text focusing on the Studiolo, please let us know!