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The Medici family controlled the destiny of the Italian city of Florence from the fifteenth century to the early 1700s. They were merchants who amassed enormous wealth and became patrons (financial supporters) of the arts. The Medici family funded many of the buildings, statues, and paintings that made Florence a center of art during the Renaissance (1300–c. 1600), the European revival of classical Greek and Roman culture. Lorenzo Medici (1449–1492) ruled Florence from 1478 to 1492. Though he was a tyrant, he was a generous patron of the arts and literature. In his villa (luxurious country house) outside of Florence, he surrounded himself with the great artists and writers of his time, including painter Sandro Botticelli (1445–1510).
Further Information: Halsall, Paul, ed. Internet Medieval Sourcebook. [Online] Available http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook.html, October 23, 2000; Your Way to Florence. Arts. [Online] Available http://www.arca.net/tourism/florence/arts.htm, October 23, 2000.
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