Painter, scenic designer and architect, Ludovico Cardi, known as "il Cigoli" (from his birthplace, Castelvecchio di Cigoli, near San Miniato) was a pupil of Alessandro Allori (1535-1607) and Bernardo Buontalenti (1536-1608), both eminent figures at the Medici Court.
As a scenic designer Cigoli was involved in organizing the festivities for the wedding of Ferdinando I (1549-1609) and Maria Cristina di Lorena (1565-1636) in 1589, and for the wedding of Maria de' Medici (1575-1642) and Henry IV (1553-1610) in 1600.
From 1582 he served on several occasions as quarterly consul of the Drawing Academy, and in 1603 was elected a member of the Academy of Crusca.
Ludovico Cardi was a close friend of Galileo's. Both were pupils of the mathematician Ostilio Ricci (1540-1603), and each dabbled in the other's craft. Galileo delighted in drawing and Cigoli in making astronomical observations. In the correspondence between the two frequent mention is made of sunspots, which Cigoli observed at firsthand, confirming Galileo's theory. Cigoli also kept Galileo constantly informed about shifting attitudes in Rome, especially in the years after his astronomical discoveries of 1610.
Cigoli paid Galileo the important tribute of a fresco of the Assumption of the Virgin in the dome of the Cappella Paolina in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, in which he painted the moon beneath Maria's feet, exactly as Galileo's telescope had revealed it.
Cigoli died in Rome on June 8, 1613, and his bones were transferred to Florence in 1644 and buried in the church of Santi Michele Arcangelo and Gaetano da Thiene in Via de' Tornabuoni.