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The Pictorial Records of the Medicis

F.M. Godfrey sifts through diverse depictions of Italy's Renaissance family.

 Medici family members placed allegorically in the entourage of a king from the Three Wise Men in the Tuscan countryside in a Benozzo Gozzoli fresco, c. 1459.The iconology of the Medicis is based mainly upon three artists who worked in the latter half of the 15th century. In 1459 Piero, son of Cosimo pater patriae, commissioned Benozzo Gozzoli to paint upon the walls of the chapel in the Palazzo Riccardi at Florence The Journey of the Magi. There he was to show the ruling princes of the house, their peers, followers and friends. About seventeen years later, another artist of the Medicean circle, Sandro Botticelli, accomplished a similar task in the celebrated Uffizi Adoration, where successive generations of the Florentine dynasty, artists and scholars and merchant-princes, were gloriously portrayed as worshipping kings and members of their court. That was in 1476. Four years later, Domenico Ghirlandaio in an invention of great originality represented Lorenzo de Medici, his children and members of his household as prominent spectators of a religious ceremony, upon the walls of the Sassetti Chapel in Santa Trinita; while in 1485, in a fresco at Santa Maria Novella, he depicted a group of Medicean scholars, moving freely amid the noble families of Florence.

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