Culture and Recreation

Fine Art

Why was the Medici family important to Renaissance art?

The Medici family was powerful in Florence, Italy, between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. The founder of the family was Giovanni di Bicci de Medici (1360–1429), who amassed a large fortune through his skill in trade and who virtually ruled Florence between 1421 and 1429.

Later, Lorenzo de Medici (1449–1492) ruled Florence between 1478 and 1492. Though he was tyrannical, he was a great patron of the arts and letters. Lorenzo (also called “the Magnificent”) maintained Fiesole, a villa outside Florence, where he surrounded himself with the great talents and thinkers of Florence, including a young artist named Sandro Botticelli (1445–1510). Lorenzo was also a patron of Michelangelo.


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