Lorenzo de' Medici : biography
Lorenzo de' Medici (1 January 1449 – 9 April 1492) was an Italian statesman and de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance. Known as Lorenzo the Magnificent (Lorenzo il Magnifico) by contemporary Florentines, he was a diplomat, politician and patron of scholars, artists, and poets. Perhaps what he is most known for is his contribution to the art world, giving large amounts of money to artists so they could create master works of art. His life coincided with the high point of the mature phase Italian Renaissance and his death coincided with the end of the Golden Age of Florence.Gene Brucker, Living on the Edge in Leonardo's Florence, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), pp. 14-15. The fragile peace he helped maintain between the various Italian states collapsed with his death. Lorenzo de' Medici is buried in the Medici Chapel in Florence.
- A teenage Lorenzo is depicted in CBBC's Leonardo, played by actor Colin Ryan. However, the historical accuracy of the series is questionable.Leonardo on IMDB
- Lorenzo appears as a supporting character in Assassin's Creed II, becoming an ally of the player character Ezio Auditore and the other Assassins after Ezio saved his life during the Pazzi conspiracy.
- Lorenzo is portrayed by Elliot Cowan in the 2013 TV series Da Vinci's Demons.
Lorenzo's grandfather, Cosimo de' Medici, was the first member of the Medici family to combine running the Medici bank with leading the Republic. Cosimo, one of the wealthiest men in Europe, spent a very large portion of his fortune in government and philanthropy. He was a patron of the arts and funded public works. Lorenzo's father, Piero 'the Gouty' de' Medici, was also at the center of Florentine life, active as an art patron and collector. His mother Lucrezia Tornabuoni was a poet and writer of sonnets. She was also a friend to figures such as Luigi Pulci and Agnolo Poliziano and became her son's advisor when he took over power.
Lorenzo was considered the brightest of the five children of Piero and Lucrezia, tutored by a diplomat, Gentile Becchi. He participated in jousting, hawking, hunting, and horse breeding for the palio, a horse race in Siena. His own horse was named Morello di Vento.
Piero sent Lorenzo on many important diplomatic missions when he was still a youth. These included trips to Rome to meet with the pope and other important religious and political figures.Niccolò Machiavelli, History of Florence, Book VIII, Chpt. 7.
- Linda Proud, A Tabernacle for the Sun (Godstow Press, 2005), a literary novel set in Florence during the Pazzi Conspiracy adheres closely to known facts.
- Linda Proud, Pallas and the Centaur (Godstow Press, 2004), deals with the aftermath of the Pazzi Conspiracy and Lorenzo de' Medici's strained relations with his wife and with Poliziano.
- Linda Proud, The Rebirth of Venus (Godstow Press, 2008), the final volume of The Botticelli Trilogy, covers the 1490s and the death of Lorenzo.
Lorenzo, groomed for power, assumed a leading role in the state upon the death of his father in 1469, when Lorenzo was twenty. Already drained by his grandfather's building projects and constantly stressed by mismanagement, wars and political expenses, the bank's assets contracted seriously during the course of Lorenzo's lifetime.
Lorenzo, like his grandfather, and father ruled Florence indirectly, through surrogates in the city councils, threats, payoffs, and strategic marriages. Although Florence flourished under Lorenzo's rule, he effectively reigned as a despot and people had little political freedom. It was inevitable that rival Florentine families should harbor resentments over the Medici's dominance, and enemies of the Medici remained a factor in Florentine life long after Lorenzo's passing. The most notable of these rival families was the Pazzi, who nearly brought Lorenzo's reign to an end when it had barely begun.
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