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Introduction: The Renaissance Court of Medici Florence—How to Get Ahead (03:38)


Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance. The Medici's were bankers turned warriors. Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, reigned at the same time as Henry VIII and ushered in a new age of ambition, intrigue, and learning. (Credits)

Rule 1: Make an Advantageous Match (02:56)

Cosimo I married Eleanora of Toledo, a 17-year-old Spanish princess in a lavish ceremony and lasted for days.

Rule 2: Call in the Decorators (02:35)

Cosimo I annexed the town hall to create a royal palace and court. The Apotheosis compared the duke to a deity.

Rule 3: Summon the Goldsmiths (02:46)

Artists captured Cosimo II De' Medici in his grandfather's robes. The Ducal crown was a symbol of divine power and was decorated with two strings of pearls. The lily was a symbol of Florence.

Rule 4: Rally the Best Artists (04:22)

Michelangelo defected to Rome to create the Sistine Chapel. Cosimo I chose Benvenuto Cellini who sculpted "Perseus with the Head of Medusa."

Rule 5: Perfect the Portrait (04:47)

Cosimo I hated the bust that Cellini cast in Bronze. Agnolo di Bronzino depicted the duke as a rational composed man in a portrait.

Rule 6: Embrace the Nude (02:15)

Rome and Greece celebrated the naked form. Bronzino depicted Cosimo I as Orpheus.

Rule 7: Be Cunning (02:06)

Nicolo Macchiavelli wrote "The Prince" as a scathing commentary of human nature.

Rule 8: Don't Trust Anyone (04:10)

Enemies and assassins targeted the Medici family. Cosimo I would fire and replace his soldiers with mercenaries. Giorgio Vasari designed a corridor for the Duke to move about the city without detection.

Rule 9: Play the Fool (03:57)

Morgante the Dwarf was one of the Duke's favorite courtiers. He was given lavish gifts after performing in demeaning entertainments.

Rule 10: Master Your Thrust (02:41)

Medici fencing became fashionable. Camillo Aggrippa wrote "A Treatise on the Science of Arms" and dedicated it to Cosimo I.

Rule 11: Dress the Part (04:04)

Written in Urbino, "Il Libro de Cortegiano" described how to act, dress, and tell jokes. Wardrobe choices needed to be new, neat, and black during the Renaissance. Codpieces were customized to depict the virility of the man.

Rule 12: Be Well Groomed (03:09)

Men attached importance to their personal appearance but did not shave. Beards styles were dictated by how a man wanted to be perceived. Michelangelo, Vasari, and Giambologna all had long messy beards.

Rule 13: Become a Renaissance Man (03:28)

Renaissance men blended science with art. Bernardo Buontalenti was an architect, stage designer, and inventor in Florence. Ice cream was made by mixing snow with cream and sugar.

Rule 14: Immortalize the Artist (06:30)

Michelangelo died in Rome. While monks prepared his body for burial, two men broke into the cloisters and returned it to Florence. Vasari, Cellini, and Bronzino designed the sepulcher and art.

Rule 15: Reach for the Stars (05:28)

A malaria epidemic killed Cosimo I's wife, two of his sons, and two of his daughters. The Arcetri Observatory was built on the hillside where Galileo Galilei discovered the Medici constellation.

Credits; The Renaissance Court of Medici Florence—How to Get Ahead (00:30)

Credits; The Renaissance Court of Medici Florence—How to Get Ahead

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The Renaissance Court of Medici Florence—How To Get Ahead

Part of the Series : How To Get Ahead
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Stephen Smith explores Renaissance Florence under the reign of Grand Duke Cosimo Medici. Cosimo’s fledgling court prized the finer things in life and some of the greatest painters, sculptors and craftsmen in world history came to serve the Grand Duke. Successful courtiers had to have brains as well as brawn. The canniest of them looked to theorists like Niccolo Machiavelli for underhanded ways to get ahead, whilst enlightened polymaths turned their minds to the heavens, and to ice cream.

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL186724

Copyright date: ©2013

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