Renaissance in Churches. The Rise of Humanism came

Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Donatello made some of the most beautiful artwork known to mankind. But they didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to make the Statue of David and stained glass windows in Churches. The Rise of Humanism came through in the art, and the artist wasn’t able to bring into the world their imagination because of the cost. Without The Medici’s Family, the impact of the Renaissance wouldn’t have been as revolutionary and the spread of humanistic ideas to the world wouldn’t have been as influential because they were the bankers, influencers of politics, and Maecenas throughout the whole Renaissance. In 1331, The Medici family rose with the merchant class in Florence. Salvestro de’ Medici wanted power so badly that he became dictator of the city for a short time. After Medicis were banned from politics because of Salvestro’s selfish actions and their fortunes suffered. But, In 1360 The Medici was able to rise again. Giovanni di Bicci was the son of a widow and he worked for the Medici bank that his cousin opened, until he was able to open his own bank. Banking became one of the many ways the Medici became very successful, and with the money, they rose to power. Kings at the time were known for taking money out of the banks, and not paying their debt since they were nobility, and Giovanni made sure to put an end to that by banning loans to Princes and Kings (Rise of the Medici Family). In 1397, when Giovanni opened his own first bank since one major source of income in  Florence had been banking, so the bank had great success. Medici banks were opening left and right, and in 1426, at the time of Giovanni’s death, he was controlling 26 banks. By 1434, the Medici bank in Rome brought them more than one-half of their wealth (Rise of the Medici Family). Under Giovanni’s first son, Cosimo the Elder, the banks were able to grow even faster than they were before. They were able to become the most powerful bank in Europe causing them to be one of the most powerful and influential people in Europe as well (Nix). One of the most powerful institutions during the Renaissance was in no question The Catholic Church. Even though Science was booming because of humanism, so there were other reasons to believe in certain things, the Catholic Church still held great power. The highest position in the church was being the Pope, and the Medici family produced 4 Popes during their dynasty (Medici Family). Not only that, they also produced two queens of France (Nix). The influential monarch, Catherine de’ Medici, who ruled in the 16th century and Marie de’ Medici who was the queen of France in the 1600’s as well. The Medici Popes brought great prosperity and gave the church more money, and artist more money too (Emmons). The first Medici Pope was Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici. His Pope name was Pope Leo X, and he sold indulgences to those who gave money to reconstruct St. Peter’s Basilica. So he gained much money from people trying to forgive their sins. Pope Clement VII, also known as Giulio di Giuliano de’ Medici, paid for Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement for the Sistine Chapel. Pope Leo XI, also known as Alessandro Ottaviano de Medici, the great-nephew of Pope Leo X, and he was only Pope for 27 days. Pope Pius IV, also known as Giovanni Angelo Medici, the last Medici Pope. During his reign, Michelangelo worked on the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli and Villa Pia. These Popes were able to take the power that they got from the Church, and bring it back into the arts for more to prosper (Medici Family). According to Merriam Webster, a Maecenas is, “a generous patron especially of literature or art”. The Medici family were very wealthy people, and one of their many family motives was to support the arts, brilliance, and bringing mankind closer to themselves. It became a family tradition to help all who were seeking and demonstrated talent. Since banking brought so much prosperity, The Medici empire gave much financial aid to young artists (Rise of the Medici Family).  The first person of the Medici to start the funding artist was Cosimo the Elder, Giovanni’s first son. In 1420, Giovanni di Bicci and his son paid for Brunelleschi to do renovate the Church of San Lorenzo, the first Church with Classical style. After Giovanni’s death, Cosimo became a very devoted and loyal patron to humanities, especially art. He helped and supported artist like Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, and Donatello.Cosimo grandson, Lorenzo, also found beauty in humanities, since he was a well-respected Latin poet himself, and when he came to power he supported many other artists (Emmons). He was considered to be the most brilliant of the Medici. Renaissance artist Michelangelo was recommended for admission to a school of sculptures by Lorenzo de’Medici.  Lorenzo saw the talent young Michelangelo had, so he has him live with him and he was treated like family. Lorenzo even gave his father a job, and with his father now more comfortable with Michelangelo being an artist, he was able to get into the mindset and create the “David”, flawless representation of the Man, with the most accurate anatomy of the man, too. He was considered to be the greatest patron of the Arts. Young Leonardo Da Vinci was also have said to have stayed with the Medici as well. The Medici also supported the sciences, just as much as they did with the arts. Galileo was, in fact, the tutor for Cosimo II (Nix). Galileo was supported and protected by the Medici, and with that Galileo was able to free his time since he had the money to do research on the solar system, and to discover Jupiter’s many moons, that he describes in “The Starry Messenger”. Humanism was not only about living in the now, but also discovering what has been in front of everyone’s eyes for forever, and with the Medici being able to fund Galileo, we now know today that the Earth isn’t the center of the solar system. The Renaissance, a time known for the most beautiful artwork in the world and some of the biggest advancements in science known to mankind, and partly to be thanked for the Medici. If the Medici hadn’t moved to Florence and became bankers, had so much political power through the Catholic church and funded the people who stuck out to them as extraordinarily talented people who would change the world as we know it, where would we be today?


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