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The Medici : Masters in Florence



90 minutes



After this seminar, you'll know all there is to know about :  The Medici, History of Florence, Lorenzo de' Medici, Italian Renaissance, Florence in the Renaissance, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Cosimo I Duke of Tuscany

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The House of Medici, one of Italy's most powerful families, ruled the city of Florence for almost three centuries.  During this seminar, we will take a look at the patriarchs of this powerful family, and see how they transformed Florence from a small Medieval city to a magnificent Renaissance capital : from Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, who founded the family bank, to Cosimo the Elder and his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent, great patrons of the arts, through to Cosimo I, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany.  See how these remarkable men left their mark on the Tuscan capital and forever changed the history of the arts in Italy, Europe, and the world.

Dawn of a New Dynasty

During the first part of the seminar, we will take a look at the founding fathers of the great Medici dynasty : Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici and his son Cosimo the Elder.  We will see how Giovanni was catapulted from being a humble banker and merchant to heading Europe's most powerful institution when he founded the family bank in 1397 and became the official Chief Papal Banker.  Discover how his son Cosimo continued in his father's footsteps, leading the Medici bank to even greater and higher success and firmly establishing and his family as political leaders of Florence.  Hear about the great works of art that Cosimo commissioned to beautify the city and glorify the family name, employing a slew of talented artists such as Donatello, Brunelleschi, and Ghiberti, and the Platonic Academy he founded to transofrm Florence into the "new Athens". 

Governors of Florence : the Golden Age

Next, we will explore the life and times of Lorenzo the Magnificent, one of the most exciting periods of Italian history.  Hear all about how Lorenzo, Cosimo's grandson, continued his grandfather's intense patronage of the arts, sponsoring great works of art by Botticelli, Michelangelo and other talented Renaissance artists.  See some of Florence's most beautiful frescoes and sculptures produced during this period, and discover the ideals of Neo-platonism upheld by the intellectuals and artists in the Medici circle.  Also hear about the rise of the House of Medici as Masters of Florence, and their firm hold on political hegemony in the Florentine Republic.


Downfall, Disaster and Rise to Dukedom

At the turn of 16th Century, things would take a turn for the worse and the Medici would eventually lose hold of their grip on Florentine politics.  During the last part of the seminar, we will take a look at the later stages of the House of Medici, including their fall into disgrace, their sudden rise to dukedom, and the slow petering out of the dynasty.  Hear about the Medici's exile from Florence under political duress, and their return to power with the election of Giovanni de' Medici as Pope Leo X.  Discover the last great age of Medici rule under Cosimo I, who would become the first Grand Duke of Tuscany and rule Florence for thirty decades, commissioning countless works of art and solidifying the role of the great House of Medici for 200 years to come.

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