Lorenzo de' Medici

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Lorenzo de' Medici

Lorenzo de' Medici. For the members of the Medici family thus named, use Medici, Lorenzo de'.

Medici, Lorenzo de'

, 1449–92, Italian merchant prince
Medici, Lorenzo de' (lōrĕnˈtsō) (dā mĕˈdĭchē, Ital. māˈdēchē), 1449–92, Italian merchant prince, called Lorenzo il Magnifico [the magnificent]. He succeeded (1469) his father, Piero de' Medici, as head of the Medici family and as virtual ruler of Florence. One of the towering figures of the Italian Renaissance, he was an astute politician, firm in purpose, yet pliant and tolerant; a patron of the arts, literature, and learning; and a reputable scholar and poet. Without adopting any official title, he subtly managed to conduct the affairs of the Florentine state. His lavish public entertainments contributed to his popularity, but, in combination with his mediocre success as a businessman, they helped to drain his funds. His growing control of the government alarmed Pope Sixtus IV, who helped to foment the Pazzi conspiracy (1478) against Lorenzo and his brother, Giuliano de' Medici. Giuliano was stabbed to death during Mass at the cathedral, but Lorenzo escaped with a wound, and the plot collapsed. Lorenzo retaliated against the Pazzi, and Sixtus excommunicated him and laid an interdict on Florence. An honorable peace was made not long afterward. In 1480, in order to retrieve his huge financial losses, Lorenzo used his political power to gain control over the public funds of Florence. The city, however, flourished, and Lorenzo, who played an important role on the international scene, constantly worked to preserve general peace by establishing a balance of power among the Italian states. Through his credit with Pope Innocent VIII he obtained a cardinal's hat for his son Giovanni (later Pope Leo X). In spite of the attacks of Girolamo Savonarola, Lorenzo allowed him to continue his preaching. Lorenzo spent huge sums to purchase Greek and Latin manuscripts and to have them copied, and he urged the use of Italian in literature. His brilliant literary circle included Poliziano, Ficino, Luigi Pulci, and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. He was a patron of Sandro Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi, Andrea del Verrocchio, Michelangelo, and other famed artists. His own poetry—love lyrics, rustic poems, carnival songs, sonnets, and odes—shows a delicate feeling for nature. His son Piero de' Medici succeeded him as head of the family but was expelled from Florence two years later.


See C. M. Ady, Lorenzo de' Medici and Renaissance Italy (1955, repr. 1964); C. L. Mee, Lorenzo de Medici and the Renaissance (1969).

Medici, Lorenzo de'

, 1492–1519, duke of Urbino
Medici, Lorenzo de', 1492–1519, duke of Urbino (1516–19); son of Piero de' Medici. His uncle, Pope Leo X, made the youthful Lorenzo duke of Urbino. After his early death, however, Urbino reverted (1521) to the Della Rovere family. A patron of the arts and humanities, Lorenzo has been immortalized by Michelangelo, who designed and made his tomb in the Church of San Lorenzo, Florence. Of the three statues adorning his tomb, one represents Lorenzo in a pensive attitude (hence it is known as the Pensieroso) and the other two represent Dawn and Dusk. Lorenzo was the father of Catherine de' Medici, queen of France.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Medici, Lorenzo De’


(Lorenzo the Magnificent). Born January 1449 in Florence; died there Apr. 8, 1492. Italian writer and political figure.

Lorenzo was the de facto ruler of Florence from 1469. Under his rule the republican form of government lost all significance. He maintained his authority through repression. At the same time, Lorenzo patronized humanists, poets writing in Italian, and artists; his policies helped transform Florence into the greatest center of Renaissance culture.

Lorenzo wrote a book of verse in which, following the example of Dante, he introduced a text in prose containing the story of his love (Commentaries to Some of My Own Sonnets). He was also the author of the lyrical narrative poem Forests of Love; mythological narrative poems in the manner of Renaissance idylls, for example, his Apollo and Pan; and works connected with folklore and popular festivals, including narrative poems containing descriptions of everyday life (The Feast, or The Drunkards, The Falcon Hunt), as well as Carnival Songs, Dance Songs, and The Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne. Lorenzo wrote religious verses (lauds), the mystery play St. John and Paul, and the anticlerical short story “Giacoppo,” which provided the plot for Machiavelli’s Mandragola.


Opere, 2nd ed., vols. 1-2. Edited by A. Simioni. Bari, 1939.


Mokul’skii, S. S. Ital’ianskaia literatura: Vozrozhdenie i Prosveshchenie. Moscow, 1966.
Palmarocchi, R. Lorenzo il Magnifico. Turin, 1946.
Brion, M. Laurent le Magnifique. Paris, 1962. (Bibliography, pp. 35-39.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Biographies of Lorenzo de' Medici have been appearing in English since William Roscoe's highly successful publication of 1793-94.
The Medicis were one of the wealthiest families in Europe and Lorenzo de' Medici was ruler of Florence from 1513 to 1519.
On pages 212-19 we have the unaccountable omission of significant phrases: 'e a me non pare ch'ella [her daughter-in-law] debba andare' following 'she doesn't want to go' (to the wedding of Lorenzo de' Medici), and 'per questo San Giovanni' in relation to clothes to be made for the daughter-in-law.
Petersburg attributes the beginning of ballet to Lorenzo de' Medici's masques in 1469.
He was fifteen when a carving of his caught the eye of Lorenzo de' Medici, who was so impressed that he took the boy into his own home.
Schmertz engineered this by placing Mobil commercials on public television, actually winning for himself thereby the reputation of being the most munificent patron of culture since Lorenzo de' Medici. Schmertz managed this amazing feat by getting Mobil to sponsor Masterpiece Theatre on PBS.
The influence of the stilnovisti was felt for centuries; their impact can be seen on the poetry of Petrarch and Lorenzo de' Medici (who consciously imitated them), as well as that of Michelangelo, Pietro Bembo, Torquato Tasso, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Ezra Pound.
In the midst of the Renaissance, his treatise "Il Principe," written for the Prince of Florence, Lorenzo de' Medici, discussed previoulsy unheard-of criteria for ruling the masses and the need to defend the powerful city-state.
This wide-ranging book offers 22 essays mostly on the political rule of Cosimo, Piero, and Lorenzo de' Medici. All of the uniformly high quality essays in the book are written by well-established scholars from both sides of the Atlantic.
The wealthy indulged themselves, however: Lorenzo de' Medici, known an Lorenzo the Magnificent, owned 30 or more robes several of which cost more than a middle-class family of four might spend in one year.
Kent, Francis W., Princely Citizen: Lorenzo de' Medici and Renaissance Florence (Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 24), ed.