Medici family


Medici family
   The Medici originated in the valley of the Mugello and moved to nearby Florence in the 13th century. In 1397, Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici established a bank. Soon he opened branches all over Italy and Europe and became involved in papal finances, enterprises that resulted in his amassing a large fortune. With wealth came power and, in 1402, Giovanni was elected to serve as one of the priors of Florence's legislative body, the Signoria. His son Cosimo is the one who sealed the family's political hegemony when in 1434 he was able to effect the removal of the Albizzi from power and to take over their position as the city's leading political figure. Medici rule was to last until the 18th century, when the family died out, save for exile in 1494 and again in 1527. In 1530, the Medici took absolute control of Tuscany as dukes and, in 1569 as grand dukes, titles they obtained through the efforts of two Medici popes: Leo X and Clement VII. Marriage alliances linked them to the royal houses of France and Spain, further strengthening their position of power.
   It is not unreasonable to say that the Medici were one of the central forces that enabled the Renaissance to take place as they contributed greatly to the cultural and intellectual fabric of Florence, the birthplace of the movement. Without their patronage the philosophers Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, the artists Donatello, Filippo Brunelleschi, Sandro Botticelli, and Michelangelo, the poet Angelo Poliziano, and the astronomer Galileo Galilei might not have had the opportunity to achieve the endeavors for which they are so well known.
   See also Medici, Lorenzo "The Magnificent" de'; Medici, Marie de'.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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