Lorenzo de Medici
Ruler of Florence and Art Patron
1449 - 1492
Whoever wants to be happy, let him be so:
about tomorrow there's no knowing.
--Lorenzo The Magnificent
Lorenzo de Medici was born on January 1, 1449 in Florence, Italy. "Lorenzo The Magnificent," as he was called by the people of Florence, was a statesman, ruler, and patron of the arts. "The Magnificent" was a common title of respect in Italy at the time, but it was Lorenzo who raised it to special status.
Lorenzo ruled Florence with his younger brother, Giuliano, from 1469 to 1478. After his brother's assassination in 1478, he was sole ruler until his death. Perhaps Lorenzo's greatest contribution to history was his patronage of the arts.
Lorenzo made history because of his patronage of the arts. He contributed more than anyone, supporting such people Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Lorenzo continued his family's traditional patronage of artists, opening his house and gardens.
First Leonardo then Michelangelo and many others such as Botticelli, Filippino Lippi turned to him for aid and protection.
There are many different tales told about the downfall of Lorenzo Medici, but some facts remain the same. Basically, a friar who Lorenzo had saved from exile began to harangue the people of Florence with prophetic language of the Apocalypse. The friar soon accused his benefactor of ruining the state and squandering the wealth of the people. These accusations began to undermine Lorenzo's support among the people of Florence.
Two years after Lorenzo's death his eldest son Piero, called the "unfortunate", was exiled from Florence for his political "incapacity" and only after 18 years the Medici family could return to its home-town.
Lorenzo died peacefully during the night of April 8 and 9, 1492 in the Villa of Careggi.