The second half of the sixteenth century seems to have been a particularly populated time for dwarves at the Medici court.
"There is a series of engraving by Stradano showing the coronation of Cosimo and several dwarves are present," Ghadessi, who authored Identity and physical deformity in Italian court portraits 1550-1650, said.
Called "nani," the dwarfs entertained and amused, being the subject of fascination, laughter and ridicule.
Morgante's case was no exception. Records testify that he was often mortified, and even had to fight, naked, with a monkey.
"Although he had a privileged role, as a dwarf he suffered humiliation and physical violence by certain courtesans," art historian Sefy Hendler wrote in the exhibition's catalogue.
Made to respond to a heated debate over which art, sculpture or painting, was nobler, Bronzino's double faced portrait offered different viewpoints - just like a sculpture - as it depicted a popular court scene which amused the Grand Duke. According to historical accounts, Morgante was often employed as a nocturnal bird hunter (the technique used a trained owl to capture little birds).