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Magnifico: The Brilliant Life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de' Medici

Magnifico: The Brilliant Life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de' Medici Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Magnifico is a vividly colorful portrait of Lorenzo de' Medici, the uncrowned ruler of Florence during its golden age. A true "Renaissance man," Lorenzo dazzled contemporaries with his prodigious talents and magnetic personality. Known to history as Il Magnifico (the Magnificent), Lorenzo was not only the foremost patron of his day but also a renowned poet, equally adept at composing philosophical verses and obscene rhymes to be sung at Carnival. He befriended the greatest artists and writers of the time — Leonardo, Botticelli, Poliziano, and, especially, Michelangelo, whom he discovered as a young boy and invited to live at his palace — turning Florence into the cultural capital of Europe. He was the leading statesman of the age, the fulcrum of Italy, but also a cunning and ruthless political operative. Miles Unger's biography of this complex figure draws on primary research in Italian sources and on his intimate knowledge of Florence, where he lived for several years.

Lorenzo's grandfather Cosimo had converted the vast wealth of the family bank into political power, but from his earliest days Lorenzo's position was precarious. Bitter rivalries among the leading Florentine families and competition among the squabbling Italian states meant that Lorenzo's life was under constant threat. Those who plotted his death included a pope, a king, and a duke, but Lorenzo used his legendary charm and diplomatic skill — as well as occasional acts of violence — to navigate the murderous labyrinth of Italian politics. Against all odds he managed not only to survive but to preside over one of the great moments in the history of civilization.

Florence in the age of Lorenzo was a city of contrasts, of unparalleled artistic brilliance and unimaginable squalor in the city's crowded tenements; of both pagan excess and the fire-and-brimstone sermons of the Dominican preacher Savonarola. Florence gave birpth to both the otherworldly perfection of Botticelli's Primavera and the gritty realism of Machiavelli's The Prince. Nowhere was this world of contrasts more perfectly embodied than in the life and character of the man who ruled this most fascinating city.

Review:

"Although a well-mined biography topic, the Medici dynasty continues to fascinate, and critic Unger (The Watercolors of Winslow Homer) offers a smart, highly readable and abundantly researched book, making particularly good use of Medici family letters and earlier biographical sources such as Machiavelli's writings. Heir to a vast international banking empire and trading cartel with branches in Venice, London and Geneva, Lorenzo de' Medici (1449 — 1492) was born to rule. Naturally sociable and charismatic with a common touch, famous temper and cynical world view, the teenaged Lorenzo excelled in classics, riding, arms, archery and music. He pursued liaisons with both women and men, represented his sickly father, Piero, on an important diplomatic mission and thwarted his father's enemies during a legendary ambush. His accomplishments do not stop there: as Florence's de facto ruler, Lorenzo actively collaborated with the artist Botticelli, was a master tactician and diplomat, and survived a papal-sanctioned assassination attempt that claimed the life of his beloved brother. Renaissance Florence — where wealthy aristocrats rubbed shoulders with the poor on narrow city streets and whose art and intellectual life dazzled Europe — is itself an intriguing character, proving Unger's mastery over his facts. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

In 1469, Lorenzo de' Medici succeeded his father, Piero "the Gouty," as head of Florence's most influential family. Lorenzo was barely 20, and Florence was ruled (rather messily) by a complex system of committees elected by the men of its commercial class, a mini-republic nestled precariously in a patchwork of kingdoms and duchies.

In "Magnifico," Miles J. Unger explains how Lorenzo,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

About the Author

Miles J. Unger is an art historian and journalist.  Formerly the managing editor of Art New England, he is currently a contributing writer to The New York Times.  He is the author of The Watercolors of Winslow Homer and Magnifico: the Brilliant life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de' Medici

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743254342
Subtitle:
The Brilliant Life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de' Medici
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Author:
Unger, Miles J.
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Europe - Italy
Subject:
Renaissance
Subject:
Statesmen
Subject:
History
Subject:
Florence (italy)
Subject:
Florence (Italy) History 1421-1737.
Publication Date:
20080506
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
528
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Italy » Medieval and Renaissance

Magnifico: The Brilliant Life and Violent Times of Lorenzo de' Medici
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 528 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780743254342 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Although a well-mined biography topic, the Medici dynasty continues to fascinate, and critic Unger (The Watercolors of Winslow Homer) offers a smart, highly readable and abundantly researched book, making particularly good use of Medici family letters and earlier biographical sources such as Machiavelli's writings. Heir to a vast international banking empire and trading cartel with branches in Venice, London and Geneva, Lorenzo de' Medici (1449 — 1492) was born to rule. Naturally sociable and charismatic with a common touch, famous temper and cynical world view, the teenaged Lorenzo excelled in classics, riding, arms, archery and music. He pursued liaisons with both women and men, represented his sickly father, Piero, on an important diplomatic mission and thwarted his father's enemies during a legendary ambush. His accomplishments do not stop there: as Florence's de facto ruler, Lorenzo actively collaborated with the artist Botticelli, was a master tactician and diplomat, and survived a papal-sanctioned assassination attempt that claimed the life of his beloved brother. Renaissance Florence — where wealthy aristocrats rubbed shoulders with the poor on narrow city streets and whose art and intellectual life dazzled Europe — is itself an intriguing character, proving Unger's mastery over his facts. Illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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