Medici family | Definition, Members, History & Facts

Throughout the Renaissance, Florence was governed by the Medici family. Through their support of the arts and humanism, they had a significant impact on the development of the Italian Renaissance.

Florence’s rulers

The Medici family worked as bankers and dealers of wool. The family grew immensely affluent since both enterprises were extremely profitable. By founding the Medici bank, Giovanni de Medici first elevated the family to notoriety in Florence. He also served as the merchants’ representative in Florence. In 1434, Cosimo de Medici, his son, was named the Gran master (head) of the city-state of Florence. Up to 1737, the Medici family dominated Florence for the subsequent 200 years.

Get Free Counseling

Leaders of the Renaissance

The Medici are most known for supporting the arts. Patronage is the act of a wealthy individual or family supporting an artist. For large pieces of art, they would give painters commission payments. The patronage of the Medici had a significant influence on the Renaissance because it freed artists from financial concerns so they could concentrate on their work.

The Medici were responsible for a sizable portion of the art and architecture created in Florence during the start of the Renaissance. They helped finance the architect Brunelleschi to erect the Basilica of San Lorenzo in the beginning and sponsored the painter Masaccio. Along with Leonardo da Vinci, the Medici family also funded Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and other well-known artists.

Not alone were the arts and architecture supported by the Medici family. They were also pro-science. They assisted renowned scientist Galileo Galilei in his pursuit of knowledge. Galileo also served as the Medici children’s tutor.


The Medici Bank was largely responsible for the Medici’s wealth and influence. They became one of the wealthiest families in all of Europe as a result. At its height, it was the biggest bank in Europe and was well regarded. The invention of the double-entry bookkeeping system is just one of the many accounting procedure advances performed by the bank.

Important Members

Giovanni de Medici (1360 – 1429):
The Medici family would become affluent thanks to Giovanni’s founding of the Medici Bank, which would enable them to fund the arts.

Cosimo de Medici (1389 – 1464):
As the first Medici to assume control of the city of Florence, Cosimo established the Medici dynasty. He sponsored Brunelleschi, an architect, and the well-known sculptor Donatello.

Lorenzo de Medici (1449 – 1492):
Lorenzo de Medici, also known as Lorenzo the Magnificent, was the ruler of Florence for a significant portion of the Italian Renaissance’s height. Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo were among the artists he funded.

Pope Leo X (1475 – 1521):
Leo, the first of four Medici to become Pope, gave Raphael many commissions.

Catherine de Medici (1529 – 1589):
In 1547, Catherine married King Henry II of France and assumed the throne as Queen of France. She later acted as King Charles IX’s regent and was crucial to the rule of her third son, Henry III. Ballet was introduced to the French court by Catherine, who promoted the arts.

Marie de Medici (1575 – 1642):
When Marie wed King Henry IV of France, she ascended to the throne of France. She also served as Louis XIII of France’s infant son’s regent before he was crowned king. The renowned Peter Paul Rubens served as her court painter.

Facts Worth Knowing About the Medici Family

Galileo named four of the Jupiter moons he discovered after members of the Medici family, albeit the names were eventually modified.

Pope Leo X, Pope Clement VII, Pope Pius IV, and Pope Leo XI are the four popes that the Medici family has produced.

The Medici Family has been referred to as the Renaissance’s Godfathers.

Giuliano Medici was killed in 1478 in front of 10,000 people at an Easter church service by the Pazzi family.

Music was favoured by Ferdinando de Medici. He contributed to the development of the piano.