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Contribution of the Medici dynasty to culture

When the phrase “Renaissance” is mentioned, one usually thinks of a number of outstanding painters, sculptors and architects of that time: Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, Bernini, Bramante, who did a lot for the development of Renaissance fine arts. And in the same row with them are also those who, with the help of their power, financial opportunities and great love for artistic creation, encouraged and supported talented masters. And, of course, we are talking about the Medici dynasty.

The rise of the dynasty

Medici is a famous Florentine dynasty, an influential and powerful family of the Renaissance. They became famous for contributing to the development of many spheres of society of this period: politics, economy, culture and art.

The Medici family actively began to declare itself in the second half of the XIV century. Its representatives were engaged in financial affairs and entrepreneurial activity. Having accumulated a large fortune, they managed to become extremely influential persons of the Florentine Republic and concentrate in their hands political power.

Cosimo Medici in 1434 became the head of the Republic and stood at its helm for 30 years. He proved to be an enlightened and wise ruler who did much to promote the arts, science, education and economic prosperity of Florence.

After Cosimo’s death, his son Piero Medici ruled for a short period of time. He, unlike his father, did not show himself much, as he suffered from a severe form of gout and all his life was concentrated on fighting the disease.

Among the next generations of Medici, the most prominent was Cosimo Medici’s grandson and Piero Medici’s son, the bright and charismatic Lorenzo the Magnificent, who was in power for 23 years (from 1469 to 1492) and continued his grandfather’s work to establish the political influence of the Florentine Republic and contributed to its economic and cultural prosperity.

Major achievements

An extremely important merit of the Medici dynasty is their support of the scientific world and the field of education. Both Cosimo and Lorenzo patronized the scholars of the time, helping them to undertake bold scientific research.

Under Cosimo Medici, the foundations for the prosperity of the Florentine Republic were laid, its financial and political system was strengthened, and a fertile ground was created for the development of artistic creativity and scientific research. Among the artists in the time of Cosimo Medici especially distinguished two outstanding masters — sculptor Donatello and architect Brunelleschi. They became the founders of Renaissance art and the progenitors of the new fine arts. Donatello pioneered Renaissance monumental sculpture, relief and sculptural portraiture. Filippo Brunelleschi was famous for designing the grandiose dome for the main cathedral of the Florentine Republic, Santa Maria del Fiore, and for building up Florence with examples of new Renaissance architecture.

Even more names of talented creators were discovered under Lorenzo the Magnificent. Under him there was a true flowering of the arts and sciences. He patronized not only painters, sculptors and architects, but also writers and musicians. Under Lorenzo de’ Medici there was a formation of piano art. He collected a famous library, in which the most valuable manuscripts, books, folios found a place. Lorenzo’s library became the basis for scientific research and educational system.

It was Lorenzo de’ Medici who discovered and supported in every possible way, including financially, a whole galaxy of brilliant masters of fine arts, who could fruitfully create and fully reveal their talent. Perhaps without the influential patronage of the Medici would not have been perfect paintings “Gioconda”, “Last Supper”, “Madonna Litta” and “Madonna Benoit” Leonardo da Vinci, grandiose statue of “David” and stunning frescoes in the Sistine Chapel Michelangelo, ideal in its harmony of the picturesque composition of “Sistine Madonna” by Raphael Santi.

Thanks to Lorenzo the Magnificent, Leonardo da Vinci had the opportunity to quietly study the world and put the most interesting experiments in the field of anatomy and engineering, and Galileo Galilei — to make bright discoveries in astronomy and physics.

The Medici proved themselves not only as patrons of the arts, sophisticated lovers of fine arts and patrons of science, but also as skillful politicians and influential religious figures. Representatives of the Medici had an active influence on the political life of Europe. Among the Medici family were four popes (Leo X, Clement VII, Pius IV, Leo XI) and two queens (Mary and Catherine de Medici).

The merits of the Medici in the establishment and development of culture are enormous. It can be argued that without them there would have been no Renaissance.

Natalia Khadeeva