A fresh telling of the rise and fall of the House of Medici, the family that dominated political and cultural life in Florence for three centuries.
Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained political power in Florence, raising the city to a peak of cultural achievement and becoming its hereditary dukes.
Among their number were no fewer than three popes and a powerful and influential queen of France. Their patronage brought about an explosion of Florentine art and architecture. Michelangelo, Donatello, Fra Angelico and Leonardo are among the artists with whom they were associated.
Thus runs the 'received view' of the Medici. Mary Hollingsworth argues that the idea that they were wise rulers and enlightened fathers of the Renaissance is a fiction that has acquired the status of historical fact. In truth, the Medici were as devious and immoral as the Borgias – tyrants loathed in the city they illegally made their own and which they beggared in their lust for power.
About the Author
Mary Hollingsworth is a scholar of the Italian Renaissance, and author of The Cardinal's Hat, The Borgias: History's Most Notorious Dynasty
and Patronage in Renaissance Italy: From 1400 to the Early Sixteenth Century.
'An excellent study of the Medici ... A careful, understated book ... [It] is never short on drama' Telegraph.
'A lucid and beautifully illustrated family history. In Hollingsworth's surefooted telling, this ruthless but enlightened family were at their best when they were true to the Florentine motto of "profit and honour"' The Times, Book of the Week.
'[This] forensic study of the Renaissance banking dynasty conjures up a world of art, literature, philosophy - and brutality' Telegraph Books of the Year.
'A vital acquisition for anyone who studies the Renaissance and seeks the true role of the Medici in the history of Florence' Kirkus, starred review.
'Drawing on impeccable documentary research [this] is a lively and accessible new account of the House of Medici' Country Life.
'Lavishly illustrated in colour, clearly written and meticulously edited, this is likely to become the standard work of reference for anyone who seeks information about the members of the family that dominated Florence' TLS.
'A beautifully illustrated and scholarly survey of five centuries of the Medici family' Literary Review.