A brilliant and ruthless statesman, Lorenzo de' Medici's dexterous wielding of power helped nurture the Italian Renaissance. A statesman, scholar, poet and philosopher, Lorenzo was a generous and discerning patron to many of the most creative minds of this most creative age. But despite this, he lived surrounded by almost constant violence, and ...
A brilliant and ruthless statesman, Lorenzo de' Medici's dexterous wielding of power helped nurture the Italian Renaissance. A statesman, scholar, poet and philosopher, Lorenzo was a generous and discerning patron to many of the most creative minds of this most creative age. But despite this, he lived surrounded by almost constant violence, and much of his genius was devoted to the art of survival in a world where the dagger was wielded as deftly as the painter's brush or sculptor's chisel. Through the pages of this fascinating biography walk many giants who benefited from Medici patronage: Botticelli, Fra Lippo Lippi, da Vinci and the teenage prodigy Michelangelo, whom Lorenzo discovered and raised almost as his own son. Other colourful characters include the grasping Pope Sixtus IV and the fiery preacher Savonarola, as well as great political leaders of the age including Lorenzo's grandfather, the shrewd and subtle Cosimo. For lovers of both cultural and political history, Magnifico is the best account currently available on the life of one of most influential man of the Italian Renaissance. 'Unger's diligent scholarship combines with an impelling narrative to give a full-bodied flavor of the splendors as well as the horrors of Lorenzo's remarkable reign.' Ross King, author of Brunelleschi's Dome and Machiavelli Miles J. Unger is a contributing writer for The New York Times and his work has appeared in numerous publications in the US.
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Publishers Weekly, 2008-03-17 Although a well-mined biography topic, the Medici dynasty continues to fascinate, and critic Unger (The Watercolors of Winslow Homer) offers a smart, highly readable and abundantly researched book, making particularly good use of Medici family letters and earlier biographical sources such as Machiavelli's writings. Heir to a vast international banking empire and trading cartel with branches in Venice, London and Geneva, Lorenzo de' Medici (1449-1492) was born to rule. Naturally sociable and charismatic with a common touch, famous temper and cynical world view, the teenaged Lorenzo excelled in classics, riding, arms, archery and music. He pursued liaisons with both women and men, represented his sickly father, Piero, on an important diplomatic mission and thwarted his father's enemies during a legendary ambush. His accomplishments do not stop there: as Florence's de facto ruler, Lorenzo actively collaborated with the artist Botticelli, was a master tactician and diplomat, and survived a papal-sanctioned assassination attempt that claimed the life of his beloved brother. Renaissance Florence--where wealthy aristocrats rubbed shoulders with the poor on narrow city streets and whose art and intellectual life dazzled Europe--is itself an intriguing character, proving Unger's mastery over his facts. Illus. (May) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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