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The Splendour of the Medici

Florence and Europe

The Medici undoubtedly stand out from the numerous famous Italian princely dynasties - the Sforza, the Este, the Gonzaga, the Borgia or the Farnese. They settled in Florence in the late 14th century as wealthy bankers. Their rise started with Cosimo il Vecchio who became regent in 1434, and continued with Alessandro who was made duke in 1531, and Cosimo I who became grand duke of Tuscany in 1569. The last Medici, Gian Gastone, died in 1737.

The splendour and glory of this princely dynasty, which employed the foremost artists, were legendary. With the help of selected works by painters such as Botticelli, Raphael, Bronzino, Allori, Furrini, Dolci and Sustermans, or sculptures by Cellini, Giambologna, Soldani or Foggini, of jewels, object dart, gems, parade armour and a whole room filled with the renowned pietre-dure works (stone inlay-technique) the exhibition will document the love of collecting of the different members of the family. Never before has so much work of such high quality left Florence.

But the exhibition will also show the familys connections with France, Austria and Germany, documented by objects dart sent to the different courts either as political gifts or as part of a dowry.

Important loans from the Museo degli Argenti in the Palazzo Pitti, the Museo Nationale del Bargello, and the Museo Archaeologico in Florence, from the Alte Pinakothek and the Bavarian National Museum in Munich, as well as from private collections will help to illustrate the scope of acquisitions brought together by this family of collectors. These loans will be complemented by splendid and important exhibits from the Kunsthistorisches Museum´s Picture Gallery and Collection of Sculpture and Decorative Arts. In all, almost 300 exhibits will be on show.


8 March 1999
to 6 June 1999

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