ITAL-4338 Medici, Pat of Ren: A dynasty 

Course Description

The course will explore the Medici, one of the most powerful and important families of the Italian Renaissance. As bankers, politicians, patrons, writers, cardinals, popes the Medici represent the perfect example of a civilization that used beauty and the arts to achieve power, and dynastic prestige. The Medici also had a strong influence on the Catholic church with popes and cardinals, such as Leo X, and Clemens VII. Some members of the family were crowned monarchs of France (Caterina and Maria, queens of France), and others, through marriages, established a direct or indirect influence on many aristocratic and powerful European families of the time. The Medici faced setbacks, and exile, but eventually they became the absolute rulers of the city of Dante and Machiavelli for more than two centuries. The last Medici, Giangastone, was the twilight of the dynasty. He died without heirs, and the blood line was extinguished. The course will explore literary texts, paintings, plays, political and economic aspects related to such a prominent family. Also, it will explore diversity issues, such as the African origins of the first Duke of Florence, or homosexuality in Renaissance Italy and Florence. The importance of patronage cannot be stressed enough, as well as the importance of political meanings and messages “carved” into some of the most beautiful, and influential masterpieces of all times. Also, the strategies that the Medici adopted to achieve wealth and power are of particular interest even today. The course will also explore thinkers such as Machiavelli, or great architects such as Brunelleschi, and Alberti, or artists, and the relation that the Medici had with the political and cultural milieu of Florence. Finally, one of the goals of the course is to present the meaningful intersections between politics, art, literature and religion. The course is taught in Italian.