The Medici family played a vital role in artwork of the Renaissance owing to the authority and the massive wealth that it had. The Medici family was also known as the House of Medici and they attained their political supremacy, power and wealth in the 13th century through the success that it was registering in banking and commerce. The family’s support of art began with the coming to power of Cosimo de’ Mecidi and their love for art is responsible for making Florence the cradle it since became of Renaissance. During the times of Cosimo, particularly that of his sons and Lorenzo the Magnificient, his grandson, the culture of Renaissance managed to flourish and as thus Florence was able to become the center of culture for Europe (Lenihan, & Bradford, 2008). The Medic’s family are important to artwork in the Renaissance as they were great and had the wealth that was mandatory to patron the artworks. The great artworks that were being produced needed individuals of foresight and wealth, and these are what the Medici family was made of. The Medici family was patron of artwork in the Renaissance.
Personally, Lorenzo was a poet and he supported and encouraged the works such as the Renaissance masters who included Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli. The youngest son of Lorenzo, Cardinal Giovanni returned to Florence after the family had ran to exile and continued with the humanistic footsteps of his father and he dedicated himself to artistic benefaction.
The most notable accomplishments that the Medici made included their sponsorship of architecture as well as art particularly early and High Renaissance architecture and art. The first patron of the arts family was Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici and he assisted Masaccio and were responsible for ordering the reconstruction of the Church of San Lorenzo. Cosimo the Elder had notable artistic associates, Donatello and Fra Angelico. And then the most noticeable inclusion to the list was Michelangelo who was responsible for several works under the Medici’s starting all the way from the father, Lorenzo the Magnificent. The Medicis’ were commissioners for art as well as architecture and they were prolific collectors of art. Up to date, their collections and acquisitions are the core of the Uffizi museum that is in Florence (Gilbert, 2005). They offered art masters with patronages and the likes of art master Leonardo da Vinci enjoyed patronage from them for seven years.
The Medicis are accountable for the notable features that are in Florence such as the Gallery at Uffizi, the Palace of Pitti, the Palazzo Medici, the Belvedere and the Boboli Gardens which are mostly works of architecture.
Even though none of the Medicis were artists, the family is remembered for having been patron the renowned Galileo who was charged with responsibility to tutor a number of the Medici children for multiple generations and who was instrumental for his patron’s power quest. The patronage to Galileo did not last forever as Ferdinando II abandoned it after the Inquisition charged Galileo of dissent.
In the Medici lineage there are specific family members who were instrumental and had influence on artwork, they included: Giovsnni di Bicci de’ Medici who was responsible for commissioning the Brunelleschi to reconstruct the Church of San Lorenzo in the year 1419. The next was Eleonira of Toledo who was the princess of Spain and the wife of Coosimo I the Great who was responsible for buying the Pitti Palace from the Buonaccorso Pitti in 1550. Cosimo I the Great was responsible for patronizing Vasari who was responsible for the construction of the Uffizi Gallery in the 1560 and then founded the Academy of Design two years later. The other notable family member of the Medici when it comes to art was Marie de Medici who was the widow of Henri IV and the mother to Louis XIII. She is used by Peter Paul Rubens as a subject in his oil painting of Marie de’ Medici, Queen of France, Landing in Marseilles (Verschuere, 2010). The other notable family member is Ferdinand II who was responsible for appointing Galileo professor at the University of Pisa in 1588.
As thus, the Medici’s have since been described as the Godfathers of the Renaissance owing to their importance and vital role play by their patronage as well as sponsorship of the culture of art. Their patronage is worshipped because the great art works that were produced in the Renaissance needed equally great individuals of foresight as well as wealthy individuals to commission and be able to buy them. As far as patrons of the arts go there are no other families that are more influential compared to the Medici family.
- Gilbert, K. A. (2005). Medici power and patronage under Cosimo the elder and Lorenzo the magnificent. Senior Honors Theses, 103.
- Lenihan, T. B., as Genius, A., & Bradford, A. (2008). Medici Patronage Patronage & Italian Renaissance Renaissance Art.
- Verschuere, B. (2010). Medici family. In International Encyclopedia of Civil Society (pp. 980-981). Springer US.