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The Family Medici: The Hidden History of the Medici Dynasty

by Mary Hollingsworth

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1111247,493 (4.28)1
Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained massive political power in Florence, raising the city to a peak of cultural achievement and becoming its hereditary dukes. Among their number were no fewer than three popes and a powerful and influential queen of France. Their influence brought about an explosion of Florentine art and architecture - Michelangelo, Donatello, Fra Angelico, and Leonardo were among the artists patronized by the Medici. Thus runs the "accepted view" of the House of Medici. However, Mary Hollingsworth argues that the idea that the Medici were enlightened rulers of the Renaissance is a fiction that has now acquired the status of historical fact. In truth, the Medici were as devious and immoral as the Borgias - tyrants loathed in the city they illegally made their own. In this dynamic new history, Hollingsworth argues that past narratives have focused on a sanitized view of the Medici - wise rulers, enlightened patrons of the arts, and fathers of the Renaissance - but that "in fact" their past was reinvented in the sixteenth century, mythologized by later generations of Medici who used this as propaganda for their legacy. Hollingsworth's revelatory retelling of the story of the family Medici bridges a fresh and exhilarating new perspective to the story behind the most powerful family of the Italian Renaissance.… (more)
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This was really well done.
This book really traces the Medici rise from merchants to bankers to semi-royalty.
It's interesting, informative and easy to read. ( )
  LoisSusan | Dec 10, 2020 |
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Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained massive political power in Florence, raising the city to a peak of cultural achievement and becoming its hereditary dukes. Among their number were no fewer than three popes and a powerful and influential queen of France. Their influence brought about an explosion of Florentine art and architecture - Michelangelo, Donatello, Fra Angelico, and Leonardo were among the artists patronized by the Medici. Thus runs the "accepted view" of the House of Medici. However, Mary Hollingsworth argues that the idea that the Medici were enlightened rulers of the Renaissance is a fiction that has now acquired the status of historical fact. In truth, the Medici were as devious and immoral as the Borgias - tyrants loathed in the city they illegally made their own. In this dynamic new history, Hollingsworth argues that past narratives have focused on a sanitized view of the Medici - wise rulers, enlightened patrons of the arts, and fathers of the Renaissance - but that "in fact" their past was reinvented in the sixteenth century, mythologized by later generations of Medici who used this as propaganda for their legacy. Hollingsworth's revelatory retelling of the story of the family Medici bridges a fresh and exhilarating new perspective to the story behind the most powerful family of the Italian Renaissance.

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