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Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance 12 - Pageant of Life in Renaissance Florence

« Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance 10 - Piero della Francesca - Individual Works

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Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance
Lecture Twelve

Pageant of Life in Renaissance Florence

 Of a population estimated at 80,000 before the Black Death of 1348, about 25,000 are said to have been supported by the city's woolen industry: in 1345 Florence was the scene of an attempted strike by wool carders (ciompi), who in 1378 rose up in a brief revolt against oligarchic rule in the Revolt of the Ciompi. After their suppression, the city came under the sway (1382–1434) of the Albizzi family, bitter rivals of the Medici. Cosimo de' Medici was the first Medici family member to essentially control the city from behind the scenes. Although the city was technically a democracy of sorts, his power came from a vast patronage network along with his alliance to the new immigrants, the gente nuova. The fact that the Medici were bankers to the pope also contributed to their rise. Cosimo was succeeded by his son Piero di Cosimo de' Medici, who was shortly thereafter succeeded by Cosimo's grandson, Lorenzo in 1469. Lorenzo was a great patron of the arts, commissioning works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli.

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