Medici, Lorenzo The Magnificent de'

   Lorenzo "the Magnificent" was the grandson of Cosimo de' Medici. He was 20 years old when he took the reigns of government in Florence from his invalid father, Piero the Gouty. Like his predecessors, Lorenzo chose to control the city from behind the scenes. He also continued their policy of forging alliances with the major Italian city-states and of contributing to the cultural and intellectual life of Florence. In 1478, Lorenzo fell victim to the Pazzi Conspiracy to oust the Medici from power. On that occasion, he was wounded and his brother Giuliano murdered, an act he retaliated by hunting down and severely punishing the conspirators.
   Lorenzo was the patron of the poet Angelo Poliziano. Under him, Marsilio Ficino translated the works of Plotinus and Proclus, thus bringing Neoplatonism to the forefront of philosophy. It was Lorenzo who took the young Michelangelo under his protective wing and nurtured his talent and persona and who commissioned Andrea del Verrocchio to create his famed bronze David (early 1470s; Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello). Giuliano da Sangallo built for him a magnificent villa at Poggio a Caiano (early 1480s), the first attempt to recreate an ancient suburban villa based on the descriptions provided by Vitruvius and Pliny the Younger. Sangallo also built the Church of Santa Maria delle Carceri at Prato (1484-1492) with funds provided by Lorenzo.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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