Rise of the Medici | Florentine
Giovanni di Bicci de'
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At the heart of Italian Renaissance
patronage was the rise of the Florentine Medici family. It is
unclear exactly where the name Medici originated, but by the
early fifteenth century, Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici stepped
forward as a leading banker and merchant in Florence.
The Medici were primed to take hold of government with the
collapse of medieval democratic rule due to popular dissent.
Along with the Medici there was a "nobility of wealth" who
began to amass wealth and who wielded tremendous power in this
environment. Giovanni de' Medici was generous, using his
staggering wealth for the public good thus garnering public
support for his agendas. Confiding to his heirs, Lorenzo and
Cosimo de' Medici, Giovanni de' Medici prided himself on
helping as many people as possible. Giovanni de' Medici died at
age 69 and was thereafter name "Father of the poor" for his
many years of generosity.
Brenda Harness, Art Historian