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Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance- A Movie Review

Updated on April 23, 2017


This film made me realized that such a family could sustain their legacy through passing it to their descendants from generations to generations. This family is the Medicis, the Godfathers of the Renaissance. Italy's history considered this Florentine family as one of the most powerful and influential.

The movie begins with Giovanni di Bicci de Medici, the son of Salvestro de’Medici, who is trying restore their family’s wealth through managing the Bank of Medici. Fortunately, the Medici bank became successful and even expanded across the Europe which made them one of the Florentine elites. Giovanni di Bicci de Medici also started the legacy of the Medicis, being the Godfathers of the Renaissance. He commissioned Brunelleschi for the building of the roof for the enormous cathedral of the city called the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence.

The increasing fortune of the Medicis gave rise to the ferocity of their rivals, which is the Albizzi family. After Giovanni dies, the Albizzi family initiates a conflict against the Medici successors. On September 7, 1433, Giovanni's son, Cosimo il Vecchio, who is the first Cosimo in Medici clan, got detained and was charged with treason. Cosimo primarily lost the battle and was exiled. Even his friend Brunelleschi got arrested. However, since there is still support given by the people, shortly he was taken back in Florence.

Albizzi family was exiled in return. After that, he became the founder of the political rules in the family, as an unofficial head of Florence. Under him, the city prospered. Like his father Giovanni, he has also desired for arts and a keen eye for a talent. Cosimo sponsors the most excellent craftsmen of his age. When the Dome was completed, he took the recognition since his father already died. On 1464, when Cosimo died, he was awarded as Pater Patriae which means Father of the Fatherland.

His son Piero just ruled for a few years and Pieros’ sons Lorenzo and Giuliano took the succession. Lorenzo in his twenties opens his doors to the ordinary people of Tuscany. The great power of Lorenzo made the Pazzi family envious. A murder plot against the Medici brothers was established. Lorenzo was just wounded, but Giuliano dies due to 19 brutal stabs on his body. Lorenzo took its revenge and eliminated the opposition particularly the Pazzi family. He soon took over the government and became the dictator. He was also called as Il Magnifico. Lorenzo sponsored Leonardo Da Vinci and discovered the boy genius Michaelangelo. In the year 1492 Lorenzo died at the age of 42.

On 1501, Michaelangelo created “David” which is a symbolism against the Medici family, the family he once adored. The Medicis once again cast into exile. Again, like their ancestors, the family searches to gain their power back. Giulio de Medici, the illegitimate son of Guiliano, who was ordained priest, and Giovanni de’Medici during those times was already a cardinal. With the help of Pope Julius II, they gained the power of Florence forcibly, but not the loyalty of the people. Giovanni elected the title of Pope Leo X in succession for the Pope Julius II. Due to greediness, Pope Leo created several enemies and protests including Martin Luther. He tried to silence his opponents but died due to simple winter chill. When Giulio became Pope Clement, he took Leo’s succession.

But it’s not an easy task since many people are Lutherans. In 1534 Pope Clement died. The disastrous reign of Medici popes was ended. However a legitimate heir of Medici, Catherine married a French king which guaranteed the future for the Medici. Then another from the descendant of Cosimo Il Vecchio’s brother, Cosimo the Great restored the luster of Medici clan. In 1569, Cosimo was named Grand Duke of Tuscany. He arranges the new style for the complete rule of Florence. They built the office building, the Uffizi in Florence which focuses on the administration of the city. Then they move his to the Pitti Palace. Furthermore, next to his reign, the rest of Medicis were the force to decide between the two choices: their commitment to the church and their devotion to the ethics of the Renaissance. But they choose their commitment to the church which means less resistance. Now, the value of Renaissance to the Medici was over (PBS 2004).

The Medicis served as an important part of the Renaissance period since they are the ones who financed masterpieces of people who changed our world-- such as the works of Michaelangelo, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Da Vinci, and Raphael. Therefore, without the Medicis, the Renaissance might not materialize at all, or our world could be a different one. No one can tell.

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