Lorenzo de' Medici: Patron of the Arts

Lorenzo de’ Medici (1449-1492) became heir to the Medici family of Florence in 1469 at the age of twenty after the death of his father, Piero de’ Medici. Under the shadow of the great patronage of architectural and artistic works of his grandfather, Cosimo de’ Medici, Lorenzo had to uphold the image of the Medici family with lesser means than his forefathers. Since the Medici bank was in decline, Lorenzo did not have adequate funds to support large public architectural works. Still, Lorenzo became famous for his art patronage. He used his seat on many Opere in Florence to influence the construction of public buildings, such as the façade of Florence Cathedral. Lorenzo was a follower of Humanist and Neo-Platonic philosophy, which is reflected in his exploits as a collector and antiquarian. His interest in Classical writings was transferred to the arts, leading to his large collection of medals, coins, medallions, and classical busts. Lorenzo’s collection was created through his network of politicians, philosophers, and artists, the latter which benefited greatly from this exposure to ancient art objects. The Medici owned several villas throughout the Tuscan countryside, and during his later years Lorenzo focused on reconstructing his villa at Poggio a Caiano. Through his public works, collections, and patronage of Florentine Renaissance artists, Lorenzo used the arts to further his diplomacy, promote his image as an enlightened leader, and to reaffirm his family’s supremacy.