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Piero di Cosimo de Medici (1416-1469)

July 14, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

EARLY LIFE AND CHILDHOOD

Cosimo de Medici had three children:

- Piero de Medici

- Giovanni de Medici

- Carlo di Medici (illegitimate)


His eldest son, and therefore his heir, Piero di Cosimo de Medici, was an unfortunate soul. Nicknamed, Piero the Gouty, he was unable to properly help the Medici family with their banking and other business plans as he was constantly unwell.

 

In some ways however he was helpful. Once Cosimo de Medici died he inherited both the de facto leadership of Florence and the Medici bank. Cosimo had let many long-standing loans stand, however Piero once in control had them all paid back. As he was always unwell he actually used to hold political meetings in his bedroom. This increased the Medici wealth hugely however it also bankrupted those who owed them (mostly merchants), and increased the number of people who were opposed to the Medici family.

 

MARRIAGE AND POLITICAL UNREST

In 1444, he married Lucrezia Tornabuoni and together they had 5 children:

- Maria

- Lucrezia

- Lorenzo the Magnificent

- Bianca

- Giuliano

- Giovanni (Illegitimate)

 

It is thought that Botticelli's painting Madonna of the Magnificat, in which Lucrezia Tornabuoni appears as the Virgin Mary, all of their family are portrayed grouped around her.

 

Throughout his leadership he also fought and won against two coups and the war against Venice in 1467.

The first coup was attempted by 5 men including his cousin Pierfrancesco de' Medici. Their troops were given by Borso d'Este and Ercole d'Este who were siblings. Ercole was the father of Isabella d'Este. Piero was warned and thus able to escape the coup. The second coup went in a similar direction as well.

 

There is a really interesting argument that some people have raised. Piero was a completely unconstitutional leader of the city, he attained his position in a hereditary, defacto manner. By calling these uprisings a 'coup' means that his leadership is legitimised. In reality these coups were real attempts to try and limit the amount of power the Medici's had and it was an attempt to bring an actual government to power as Florence was a Republic.

 

LATER LIFE

The Medici's artistic patronage is famous and Piero definitely played his part. He commissioned Gozzoli's fresco 'Procession of the Magi' which is in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi. In this fresco Piero and two of Piero's sons are depicted - we can see Lorenzo and Giuliano here. Lorenzo is on the white horse on the left hand-side and Piero is beside him. Some people believe that Cosimo de Medici is riding a horse on the right hand side of them. They are all wearing red hats. 

His taste was much more varied than his father, Cosimo. Cosimo de Medici patronage was almost exclusively Italian, whereas Piero's collection included Dutch and Flemish artworks as well. He also collected rare books, adding a large number to the Medici collection.

 

DEATH

He died in 1469 as a result of gout and lung disease and is buried in the Church of San Lorenzo, next to his brother Giovanni. The tomb, created by Andrea del Verrocchio, was commissioned by his sons Lorenzo and Giuliano.

 

His eldest son, Lorenzo the Magnificent, took after his grandfather Cosimo de Medici in leadership skills and maintaining the family power in Florence.

 

 

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