Lorenzo de' Medici | Art Patron
Italian Renaissance art patron Lorenzo de' Medici
married a highborn Roman noblewoman of the Orsini family, and
his daughter married Pope Innocent VIII's son who was conceived
prior to the pope taking religious orders. Lorenzo's son Piero
also married an Orsini, and Lorenzo bought his other son,
Giovanni, a cardinal's hat at age thirteen.
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Having little of his father's business acumen
while spending vast amounts to money to maintain his
princely lifestyle, Lorenzo de' Medici's fortune eventually
began to dwindle. Faced with a deteriorating Italian
economy, the Medici banks began to fail. While the money
lasted, however, Lorenzo de' Medici patronized artists,
architects, and literary endeavors like no one else.
He collected ancient texts and established the Platonic
Academy populating it with a group of his own friends. Included
were Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, and Angelo
Poliziano, also known as Politian.
Lorenzo de' Medici supported many famous
Among the artists Lorenzo de' Medici patronized were
Giuliano da Sangallo, Verrocchio, and the young Leonardo da Vinci,
Verrocchio's pupil. Later in his life, Lorenzo added the
15-year-old sculptor Michelangelo and others to his retinue
when he created a sculpture school in his garden. All of
those people included in his inner circle were nurtured with
Even money couldn't buy Lorenzo de' Medici
absolution from his sins.
In 1490 only two years before Lorenzo de' Medici's death, a
fiery Dominican monk named Girolamo Savonarola
began preaching in San Marco, a Medici-sponsored
church. Lorenzo was probably surprised to find himself the
target of a barrage of attacks from the pulpit as Savonarola
prophesied doom and damnation for him and the Florentines in
general. It has been reported that upon being called to
Lorenzo's deathbed, Savonarola refused him absolution for his
sins. Lorenzo de' Medici was laid to rest in San Lorenzo in a
tomb overshadowed by the great tombs built there by Michelangelo.
One is for Lorenzo's son Giuliano. The other is for Lorenzo's
grandson, another Lorenzo, although many people erroneously
believe that it is Lorenzo the
Magnificent who is buried in that tomb.
Brenda Harness, Art Historian