Florence, Cradle of the Renaissance
Florence History and Development
Florence is one of the major historical cities in Italy, named to be exceptional for its economic, cultural, and political development and advancement. Florence artistic centres represent the expansion of the Italian Art from the Late Middle Ages to Renaissance.
Florence was famously known as banking and finance innovation centre ever since the 13th century when the famous bankers from North Italy known as Lombards, gradually replace the Jews in their traditional role as money-lenders to the rich and powerful. The business and trading skills of the Italians are enhanced by their invention of double-entry book-keeping. The new creative accountancy enabled them to avoid the Christian sin of usury. In this way interest on a loan was presented in the accounts either as a voluntary gift from the borrower or as a reward for the risk taken.
The well-known history of Florence is related to its economic development and especially the Medici family, also known as the House of Medici. Medici was the Italian family that ruled Florence, and later Tuscany, during most of the period from 1434 to 1737, except for two brief intervals. The founder of the family was Medico di Potrone, who lived around the year 1000 and was a doctor by profession. Medici is the Italian word for doctors. In historical aspect members of the Medici family were the protagonists of Florentine life long before their dynasty passed into history.
The Medici`s first attained wealth and political power in Florence through their success in commerce and banking. Beginning in 1434 with the rise to power of Cosimo de’ Medici, the family’s support of the arts and humanities transformed Florence into the cradle of the Renaissance, a cultural flowering which can contest only by that of ancient Greece.
At the time of the dominance of the Pazzi and the Medici, Florence was the centre of the Italian Renaissance. Both families were directly involved as patrons. In about 1430 Donatello produced the nude bronze of David for a Medici palace. In the same year Brunelleschi was starting work on the Pazzi chapel. Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, the first patron of the arts in the family, helped Masaccio and commissioned Brunelleschi for the reconstruction of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence in 1419. Nowadays, the biggest accomplishments of the Medici was the sponsorship of art and architecture.
Cosimo the Elder commissioned Filippo Brunelleschi for the building of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral. He also has demonstrated formidable support for education, establishing the Platonic Academy for the study of ancient works. It is estimated that before his death, Cosimo the Elder has spent approximately 600,000 gold florins supporting architecture, scholarly learning, and other arts.
The Medici family produced four popes (Leo X, Clement VII, Pius IV, and Leon XI), and their genes have been passed through many of Europe’s royal families. The last Medici ruler, Gian Gastone, died without a male heir in 1737, ending the family dynasty after almost three centuries and beginning the long European reign of the Hapsburg-Lorraine family.
The surge in artistic, literary, and scientific investigation that occurred in Florence in the 14th-16th centuries was facilitated by Florentines' strong economy, based on money, banking and trade.
Florence benefited materially and culturally from the social consciousness. In the arts, the creations of Florentine artists, architects, and musicians were influential in many parts of Europe.
SWS Team kindly invite you to experience the spirit and the spread of the Renaissance art. We do hope that the magic of the town will influence you and you will find the participation in the conference fruitful in every aspect!