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The House of Medici: The Art of Power

Evening Program

Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1J0014

Panoramic view of interior cupola of the Medici Chapels, Florence, Italy

The Medici were one of the longest lasting-dynasties in history and perhaps the most famous of Renaissance clans. From relatively modest beginnings, the family became one of the most wealthy and powerful in Europe. As bankers to some of Europe’s most important rulers, including the pope, the Medici had a substantial influence on the geo-politics of their time. But perhaps their most enduring legacy is that as patrons of the arts.

Artists such as Donatello, Brunelleschi, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, and Michelangelo all developed under and enjoyed Medici largesse. Florentine monuments such as the Basilica of San Lorenzo, the Dominican church and convent of San Marco, and the Medici Palace still stand as testimony to the large-scale urban patronage practiced by the Medici in Florence. Some of the most iconic works of art of the Renaissance were also the fruit of Medici commissions, such as Donatello’s famous bronze David or Botticelli’s timeless Birth of Venus. Rocky Ruggiero, a specialist in the Early Renaissance, explores the Medici as benefactors and how art became a language of their power.

­­Ruggiero, who divides his time between Italy and the United States, has lectured on Italian art and architecture for American university programs in Italy for the past 20 years, including those of Syracuse, Kent State, Vanderbilt, and Boston College.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)