Codpiece #7: Ludovico Capponi - The functional codpiece
Now, here is a codpiece that you can hang your hat on! At first, I thought Ludovico's codpiece was a sword, but on closer inspection, I see it is heavy artillery of another nature. (that was the last bad pun...I swear). At the very least, Ludovico is trying to make sure that none of his military equipment damages the goods. You might think the codpiece was just marketing fluff, but it did serve a valuable purpose. Just think what a sword at your waste could do if it accidentally rubbed in the wrong direction? Unfortunately, the Catholic church never saw its utilitarian elegance. At one point, Ludovico's codpiece was considered so indecent that it was painted over. Oh boooooooo.
Aside from the brash choice of under ware, there is a really good love story behind this painting. Ludovico fell in love with a beautiful girl in Duke Cosimo I de Medici's court named Maddalena Vettori. Unfortunately, Cosimo had already planned to marry Maddalena to one of his cousins and forbid the couple to see each other. Disobeying Cosmo's wishes, the couple met in secret for three years and soon begged Cosimo's wife, Eleonara of Toledo, to allow them to be together. The Duke eventually agreed on the condition that the couple must marry within three days or be forever separated. You can guess by Ludovico's determined gaze that the young man made it happen. By all accounts, the marriage was a happy one and produced eight children.
I am going to make a celebrity call on this one and say Ludovico looks like a young James Spader, minus the wandering eye. What do you think?