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The Medici in Florence: Political Dynasty, Patrons of the Arts

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Friday, July 23, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0608
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Procession of the Youngest King (detail) by Benozzo Gozzoli 

At its height, Renaissance Florence was a center of enormous wealth, power, and influence. A republican city-state funded by trade and banking, its often-violent political scene was dominated by rich mercantile families, the most famous being the Medici.

From relatively modest beginnings, the Medici became bankers to the pope and to many rich and powerful European families. But perhaps their most enduring legacy—for which the world owes them a debt of gratitude—is their patronage of the arts. Artists such as Brunelleschi, Donatello, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, and Michelangelo all thrived under Medici patronage.

Join Renaissance art historian Elaine Ruffolo as she traces the family’s influence on the political, economic, and cultural history of Florence, from the early 1430s with the rise of the dynasty under the near-legendary Cosimo de Medici, to the golden era under Lorenzo il Magnifico and the family’s ultimate goal: the Papal tiara.

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

Patron Information

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*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.

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.