Cosimo de' Medici

(redirected from Cosimo il Vecchio)

Medici, Cosimo de'

(kô`zēmō dā mĕ`dĭchē, Ital. mā`dēchē), 1389–1464, Italian merchant prince, first of the MediciMedici
, Italian family that directed the destinies of Florence from the 15th cent. until 1737. Of obscure origin, they rose to immense wealth as merchants and bankers, became affiliated through marriage with the major houses of Europe, and, besides acquiring (1569) the title
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 family to rule Florence. He is often called Cosimo the Elder. After the death of his father, Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, Cosimo and his family were banished (1433) from Florence by a faction headed by the powerful Albizzi family. He returned a year later and, supported by the people, soon became the acknowledged leading citizen of the republic. An able financier, he vastly expanded the family's banking business. In spite of his lavish expenses for the state, for charities, and for the arts and learning, he doubled his fortune. He respected the republican institutions of the city, always sought popular support, and made his power as little felt as possible. Guiding Florentine foreign policy, he sought a balance of power among the Italian states. From the traditional alliance with Venice against Milan, he shifted to an alliance with the SforzaSforza
, Italian family that ruled the duchy of Milan from 1450 to 1535. Rising from peasant origins, the Sforzas became condottieri and used this military position to become rulers in Milan. The family governed by force, ruse, and power politics.
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 family, helping the Sforzas to gain control over Milan. Cosimo's claim to greatness, however, rests chiefly on his generosity toward artists and scholars. He founded the famous Medici Library and an academy for Greek studies (headed by Marsilio FicinoFicino, Marsilio
, 1433–99, Italian philosopher. Under the patronage of Cosimo de' Medici, Ficino became the most influential exponent of Platonism in Italy in the 15th cent.
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), built extensively in Florence, and protected such artists as BrunelleschiBrunelleschi, Filippo
, 1377–1446, first great architect of the Italian Renaissance, a Florentine by birth. Trained as sculptor and goldsmith, he designed a trial panel, The Sacrifice of Isaac
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, DonatelloDonatello
, c.1386–1466, Italian sculptor, major innovator in Renaissance art, b. Florence. His full name was Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi. In his formative years he assisted Ghiberti in Florence with the bronze doors for the baptistery.
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, GhibertiGhiberti, Lorenzo
, c.1378–1455, Florentine sculptor. He received his early training in the workshop of Bartoluccio. In 1401 he entered the competition for a bronze portal for the baptistery in Florence. He won the contest against his closest rival, Brunelleschi.
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, and Luca della RobbiaDella Robbia
, Florentine family of sculptors and ceramists famous for their enameled terra-cotta or faience. Many of the Della Robbia pieces are still in their original settings in Florence, Siena, and other Italian cities, but the finest collections are in Florence in the
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. After his death Florence voted him the official title Pater Patriae. His son, Piero de' MediciMedici, Piero de'
, 1416–69, Italian merchant prince. He succeeded his father, Cosimo de' Medici, as head of the Medici family and as leader of the Florentine state. His ill health earned him the nickname Il Gottoso [the gouty].
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, known as Il Gottoso [the gouty], succeeded as head of the family.


See biographies by K. D. Vernon (1899, repr. 1970) and K. S. Gutkind (1939).

Cosimo de' Medici:

see Medici, Cosimo de'Medici, Cosimo de'
, 1389–1464, Italian merchant prince, first of the Medici family to rule Florence. He is often called Cosimo the Elder. After the death of his father, Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici, Cosimo and his family were banished (1433) from Florence by a faction
..... Click the link for more information.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Dale Kent, for example, reads a variety of sources to demonstrate the way Cosimo il Vecchio de' Medici exemplified and utilized the dual, mutually reinforcing ideals of patriarchy and patronage in the early fifteenth century, while Gary Ianziti explores how Leonardo Bruni's History of the Florentine People provided a usable past for the political culture of the emergent Florentine oligarchy.
A generous introduction and a chapter centered on gerontophobia is followed by a discussion of how painters, all of them a bunch of narcissists, only managed to paint themselves, as Cosimo il Vecchio said (and this well before the more famous "madame Bovary c'est moi").
The first preserved example of the soon-to-be ubiquitous Medici dynastic device of a single gold ring set with a point-cut diamond, in the form of a pyramid, appears in a Petrarchan manuscript, dating to the early 1440s and made for Piero di Cosimo il Vecchio de' Medici.
(14) Burchiello (who represents Grazzini and is placed anachronistically at the time of Lorenzo's rule), the author of satirical, anti-Medicean poetry, had been banished from Florence in 1434 when Cosimo il Vecchio returned from exile.
In 1434, Cosimo il Vecchio Medici had become a principal citizen of the city and its unofficial head of state.
Leo X's great-uncle, Carlo (1428?-92), the natural son of Cosimo il Vecchio, had achieved only the ranks of protonotary, canon of the cathedral of Florence, and provost of Prato, but not that of bishop or cardinal.
He identifies the patron of the Davidas Cosimo il Vecchio and cites the original location as the Medici "Casa Vecchia" on Via Larga, perhaps in the room painted with a cycle of Uomini famosi.
Among them are the Duke of Athens, who in 1342-1343 tried to make the Palazzo Vecchio into a veritable citadel; Cosimo il Vecchio, who was briefly imprisoned there before the coup of 1434, thereafter virtually its de facto master; and Cosimo I, who openly appropriated the building to his rule.
Sulla repubblica fiorentina a tempo di Cosimo il Vecchio. Pisa, 1880.
Leo X's frescoes at Poggio a Caiano, honoring Lorenzo and Cosimo il Vecchio, are dissimulating in their fictitious classical episodes, audacious in proportion to the precariousness of the dynasty.