Also known as the House of Medici, the Medici Family attained political power in the 13th century, in Florence. The Medici Family gained success through banking and commerce. Both businesses were extremely profitable and so Giovanni Medici, the head of this family, decided to open a bank, called Medici Bank. Giovanni Medici was also the leader of the Florence merchants, and Cosmo de Medici, his son, was the Gran maestro of the Florence city-state. The Medici family was so successful that they managed to rule Florence for no less than 200 years, until 1737.
The Medici Family was in love with art, so they were well known for their support for art and artists. They supported the architect Brunelleschi to rebuild the Basilica of San Lorenzo. Many other famous artists were helped by the Medici Family, for example Raphael, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Donatello.
Not only that they were some of the greatest supporters of architecture or arts, they also patronage science. One of the greatest scientists of all time, Galileo Galilei was supported in his scientific efforts by the Medici Family. Galileo was also a tutor for the children coming from this very famous family.
The Medici Family was one of the richest families in Europe, thanks to their skills in banking. The Medici bank was one of the biggest banks on the continent and it was much respected. Due to this bank, they gained power and wealth.
Important members of the Medici Family along the years were:
• Giovanni de Medici (1360-1429), who founded the Medici Bank;
• Cosimo de Medici (1389-1464), who became the leader of Florence and supported artists like Donatello and Brunelleschi;
• Lorenzo de Medici (1449-1492), who ruled Florence during the Italian Renaissance and supported Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli and Michelangelo;
• Pope Leo X (1475-1521), who was the first member of this family to become Pope. He helped Raphael in many of his projects;
• Catherine de Medici (1529-1589) married King Henry II of France and became Queen of France. She brought ballet to the French court and supported arts;
• Marie de Medici (1575-1642) became the Queen of France after she married King Henry IV of France. The famous Peter Paul Rubens was her court’s painter.
Probably, without the massive contribution of the Medici Family in arts, artists like Michelangelo, Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci would not have enjoyed the great success they had. Another important fact is that Ferdinando de Medici was a protector of music and he contributed at the invention of the piano. The Medici Family was also called the Godfathers of the Renaissance. What other powerful families in history do you know?
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