The power by the Medici led to

The Medici family controlled Florence for over three centuries. The man responsible for
putting the family in power was Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464), who was also known as
Cosimo the Elder. He was able to gain influence over the city and its government, the signori,
because of the wealth that was available to him through the Medici bank. Without these funds,
he would not have had the opportunities that were available to him and thus, to his family.
Along with this wealth, Cosimo also relied on the business connections that the Medici bank
provided him with in order to extend the influence he held. This expansion of power by the
Medici led to Cosimo’s exile in 1433 at the hands of the Albizzi family. Medici money once
again came through and he was recalled one year later. Upon his return, Cosimo repaid the favor
to the Albizzi clan by exiling its members from Florence.
The wealth that the Medici bank provided for Cosimo de’ Medici also allowed him to
participate more fully in various aspects of society. He was able to become a significant patron
of both the arts and learning. By sponsoring artists and humanists, Cosimo once again extended
his influence over Florentine society to cover a greater area. The projects that Cosimo sponsored
included a wide variety of styles by many different artists. Through his patronage Cosimo
influenced painting, sculpture, and architecture. He also influenced learning though his support
of both humanistic education and the creation of the first public library at the monastery of San
Marco in Florence. Cosimo made a significant impact on Florentine society in a number of
areas, and this was made possible by the wealth he held.
Cosimo was only the first of many generations of Medici to rule over both the family and
the city of Florence.?
While each Medici ruler had his own way of governing over the city, the family’s control began with Cosimo’s ascent to power. Some of his descendants, such as his
grandson Lorenzo de’ Medici (1449-1492), followed closely in Cosimo’s footsteps. Lorenzo the
Magnificent, as he was know, practiced patronage of both the arts and learning in ways similar to
his grandfather. He became more involved in the Florentine Renaissance through the creation of
his own poetry.


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