The Medici Family in Florence–Culture, Power, and Influence: A Six-Part Course with Dr. Alessandra Becucci

The Medici Family in Florence–Culture, Power, and Influence: A Six-Part Course with Dr. Alessandra Becucci


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after each event.

A dynasty of merchants-bankers, for centuries the Medici were the most influential family in Florence. As experienced members of the Republican government of the town and as clever businessmen, they contributed to the political and economic primacy of Florence. As members of the Florentine socio-cultural elite, they sponsored and collaborated with the most important artists of the Renaissance, including Donatello, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Signorelli, and Michelangelo. As dukes of Florence, they shaped the history of the town between the Fifteenth century and 1747, when the last member of the family died heirless.
Led by a Florentine art historian, Alessandra Becucci, this course will introduce participants to the long history of the most influential family in Florence. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of how, while crafting their image of cultural and political leaders, the Medici contributed to making Florence one of the protagonists of European culture for centuries to come.

Lecture 1: Origins and the Medici’s Rise to Power in Late Medieval Florence
Tracing the arrival of the Medici from the Mugello valley to Florence, this lecture covers the rise of the family within the Florentine society, the beginning of their trading and banking activity, and their entrance into the political and cultural life of the city.
Lecture 2: Medici Patronage 1300-1500–Social and Cultural Promotion in Republican Times
Well-established merchants, the Medici started to use patronage as a way to promote their image early on in their history. This lecture focuses on the first fundamental episodes of their artistic and architectural patronage, highlighting some personal connections with artists, such as the one between Cosimo the Elder and Donatello.
Lecture3: Lorenzo and Giuliano, Magnificent Brothers
In the second half of the fifteenth century, under the direction of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Florence flourished culturally and politically. This lecture introduces the political changes following the assassination of Giuliano de Medici and the cultural interests of Lorenzo, focusing on his relationship with Michelangelo and humanism. The last part of the lecture covers Gerolamo Savonarola’s preaching and the bonfires of the vanities.
Lecture 4: Medici Patronage 1500-1700–the Lords of Florence
After obtaining the title of dukes by imperial concession, the Medici started shaping their image of the ruling dynasty through art, science, music, and literature. This lecture will cover the changes in their patronage modes and tastes in light of their newly acquired social and political stance.  We will also meet some of the less prominent figures in the dynasty.
Lecture5: The Last Medici–End of a Dynasty
This lecture will present the challenges faced by the dynasty in the 1600s and 1700s, eventually resulting in the extinction of the Medici in 1743. The important cultural patronage of the last two centuries and the decisions made to preserve their heritage in Florence are central to the continuing importance as a center for Renaissance art and culture.
Lecture 6: Medici Women–Matrons’ Cultural Mediation
The last session is dedicated to the female figures in the dynasty. Two Medici women, Caterina and Maria, became queens of France and were influential mediators of the Italian style outside of Florence. Several other ladies in the lineage were powerful matrons contributing to the leading cultural role of the family over the centuries.

Born and raised in Florence, Alessandra has a degree in art history from the University of Florence with a specialization in seventeenth-century painting. She obtained an MRes from the European University Institute in Florence, where she defended her Ph.D in history, focusing on the patronage of Tuscan nobility in Europe during the seventeenth century. She has been teaching art history and Italian for several years in various schools and institutions in Florence.

 How does it work?
This is a six-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.
Is there a reading list in advance?
Though the course is open to participants with no background on this topic, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.
How long are the lectures?
Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.
How much is the course?
The course is $210 for six lectures.
Is a recording available?
Yes. If you need to miss a lecture, you will be sent a recording after the event.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 49 reviews
92%
(45)
4%
(2)
0%
(0)
4%
(2)
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S
S.L. (Ottawa, CA)

An absolutely excellent overview of this powerful and important family. It is obvious Dr. Becucci is so knowledgeable in this field. She makes the Medici family come alive! I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every session and look forward to her further endeavours.

S
S.A. (Concord, US)
Overview of the Medici Family

Dr. Becucci gave an incredible overview of the Medici Family in Florence. There was so much history that she presented.

A
A.H. (Darlington, GB)
Fascinating lectures on the Medici family history

Dr Alessandra Beccucci gave an excellent set of lectures devoted to the Medici family, from it's early beginnings to it's demise.
Her evidence based weekly talks kept me engaged due to her infectious enthusiasm. Historical context was enhanced with maps, a useful family tree and excellent illustrations; relating to Medici portraits, villas and artwork commissions as well as locations and people with whom they were associated. The received information , combined with that of other recent 'conversations', will be used to good effect when I am able to visit Florence. Very soon I hope!
I shall be signing up for more of Dr Becucci's lectures,

C
C.F. (Santa Monica, US)
Another great presentation in this series on the Medici!

This was another great presentation in the series by Dr. Becucci. So much has been written and said about the earlier members of this influential family, and it is wonderful to hear about the later members, and then the end of the dynasty. I particularly liked that the last member required that all the treasures amassed by the family throughout the ages be donated to and required to remain in Florence. Such a gift to us all.

C
C.F. (Santa Monica, US)
Great first session!

Guest did not leave comment

Customer Reviews

Based on 49 reviews
92%
(45)
4%
(2)
0%
(0)
4%
(2)
0%
(0)
S
S.L. (Ottawa, CA)

An absolutely excellent overview of this powerful and important family. It is obvious Dr. Becucci is so knowledgeable in this field. She makes the Medici family come alive! I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every session and look forward to her further endeavours.

S
S.A. (Concord, US)
Overview of the Medici Family

Dr. Becucci gave an incredible overview of the Medici Family in Florence. There was so much history that she presented.

A
A.H. (Darlington, GB)
Fascinating lectures on the Medici family history

Dr Alessandra Beccucci gave an excellent set of lectures devoted to the Medici family, from it's early beginnings to it's demise.
Her evidence based weekly talks kept me engaged due to her infectious enthusiasm. Historical context was enhanced with maps, a useful family tree and excellent illustrations; relating to Medici portraits, villas and artwork commissions as well as locations and people with whom they were associated. The received information , combined with that of other recent 'conversations', will be used to good effect when I am able to visit Florence. Very soon I hope!
I shall be signing up for more of Dr Becucci's lectures,

C
C.F. (Santa Monica, US)
Another great presentation in this series on the Medici!

This was another great presentation in the series by Dr. Becucci. So much has been written and said about the earlier members of this influential family, and it is wonderful to hear about the later members, and then the end of the dynasty. I particularly liked that the last member required that all the treasures amassed by the family throughout the ages be donated to and required to remain in Florence. Such a gift to us all.

C
C.F. (Santa Monica, US)
Great first session!

Guest did not leave comment