Lorenzo de’Medici, a.k.a., The Magnificent is probably the most famous Medici. This notoriety is as much the result of the times in which he lived—particularly when viewed from the difficult times that followed—as of his considerable personal virtues (bravery, for one) and talents (in poetry, say) or his own patronage (relatively limited for a Medici).
He was fortunate to survive the 1478 Pazzi conspiracy in which his brother lost his life. He then showed remarkable initiative and courage in sailing to Naples to settle differences with its King, Ferrrante, and restore peace. In stark contrast with what would come after, Florence and Italy were at peace for most of his lifetime and ruled by Italians, Florence also witnessed its greatest phase of artistic accomplishment when mostly homegrown talent worked in Florence for Florentine patrons.
While his personal tastes ran much more to collecting antiquities, Lorenzo promoted artists and found them commissions and supported men of letters. By acquiring a cardinal’s hat for his second-born son Giovanni when he was only thirteen, Lorenzo did much to ensure that his family’s fortunes and that of his own name would continue to flourish well after his own death.
His reputation would later be burnished by Duke Cosimo who brought back together most of what Lorenzo had collected during his lifetime.
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