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

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


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Starts on Sunday, June 06, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
  • Sunday, June 06, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
  • Sunday, June 13, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
  • Sunday, June 20, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
  • Sunday, June 27, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
  • Sunday, July 04, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
  • Sunday, July 11, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
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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.

Lecture 3: 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.

Lecture 5: 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 course is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 28 reviews
89%
(25)
4%
(1)
0%
(0)
7%
(2)
0%
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K
K.S.

Guest did not leave comment

S
S.M.
Part 4 of 4 of the Medici Family in Florence

I absolutely loved this course and I do think that my favorite was part 4 because I appreciated the special focus on the women. Dr. Becucci used the women to also explain many of the cultural influences and restrictions on women during this time. As a student of women's studies, I so appreciated this attention.

B
B.A.f.M.
I would give this 10 Stars out of 5. Truly Outstanding!

Dr. Alessandra Becucci is literally a fountain of knowledge about all things Florence. I have so enjoyed this series on the Medici family. Having visited Florence this detail on the Medici family and the history behind the churches, the palaces, the gardens, all the art we saw when we were there took me right back to our wonderful trip. This last part (4 of 4) in the series is dedicated to the women of the Medici family. I really like that Dr. Becucci broke out the women and told their story in one part as opposed to a "minor mention" in the history of the men. Women's history is often never told or only in the shadows of the men. Breaking it out and really focusing on them in this final part in the series was a really nice way to bring them to the forefront in our learning.

S
S.
Amazing series

This was an excellent series of seminars. I enjoyed every one of them. I only wish there had been a couple more, as there just was not enough time to cover the full Medici history! We really couldn't delve deeply into historic figures like Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany,,,his children, etc. It was especially interesting to discuss the women of the Medici family - who were fascinating on their own. I would love to further explore this family - perhaps the artists the Medici favored, for example. I learned a great deal during the series and now am motivated to do even more research on my own.Thanks Alessandra for your excellent work in preparing for this series. :)

S
S.M.
Part 3 of 4 of the Medici Family in Florence

I honestly don't know how Dr. Becucci managed to get through all the material she had for this session in the time she did. And it didn't feel rushed or strained...she's just that good. Wow.

Customer Reviews

Based on 28 reviews
89%
(25)
4%
(1)
0%
(0)
7%
(2)
0%
(0)
K
K.S.

Guest did not leave comment

S
S.M.
Part 4 of 4 of the Medici Family in Florence

I absolutely loved this course and I do think that my favorite was part 4 because I appreciated the special focus on the women. Dr. Becucci used the women to also explain many of the cultural influences and restrictions on women during this time. As a student of women's studies, I so appreciated this attention.

B
B.A.f.M.
I would give this 10 Stars out of 5. Truly Outstanding!

Dr. Alessandra Becucci is literally a fountain of knowledge about all things Florence. I have so enjoyed this series on the Medici family. Having visited Florence this detail on the Medici family and the history behind the churches, the palaces, the gardens, all the art we saw when we were there took me right back to our wonderful trip. This last part (4 of 4) in the series is dedicated to the women of the Medici family. I really like that Dr. Becucci broke out the women and told their story in one part as opposed to a "minor mention" in the history of the men. Women's history is often never told or only in the shadows of the men. Breaking it out and really focusing on them in this final part in the series was a really nice way to bring them to the forefront in our learning.

S
S.
Amazing series

This was an excellent series of seminars. I enjoyed every one of them. I only wish there had been a couple more, as there just was not enough time to cover the full Medici history! We really couldn't delve deeply into historic figures like Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany,,,his children, etc. It was especially interesting to discuss the women of the Medici family - who were fascinating on their own. I would love to further explore this family - perhaps the artists the Medici favored, for example. I learned a great deal during the series and now am motivated to do even more research on my own.Thanks Alessandra for your excellent work in preparing for this series. :)

S
S.M.
Part 3 of 4 of the Medici Family in Florence

I honestly don't know how Dr. Becucci managed to get through all the material she had for this session in the time she did. And it didn't feel rushed or strained...she's just that good. Wow.