When watching the video on the influence of the Medici family on art, it is interesting to note that the family played a role in both the Italian and the French Renaissance. The wealthy family funded the construction of parts of churches as well as an entire abbey in Italy as a way to help make up for their sinful family career. However, they also have a tie to France since Catherine de Medici was queen of France during the French Renaissance.
According to the video, the Medici family was made of bankers and moneylenders. Their family coat of arms represents the family’s connections with money and coins. During the time of the Italian Renaissance, it was believed that moneylenders were going to go to hell. In Dante’s Inferno, he describes the moneylenders in hell as constantly moving their hands. They received their punishment because their profession was lazy. They lent money and charged interest, thus doing no actual work to earn their living.
In order to prevent the family from all being condemned to hell, they began helping to fund projects that the church wanted to complete. For example, they funded the sculpting of large doors for a cathedral in Florence. Cosimo de Medici even funded an entire abbey, the Monastery of San Marco. These acts were meant to erase the sin of money lending from the Medici family name.
The French Renaissance began when Charles VIII invaded Italy and brought back some of the art and artists. The height of the French Renaissance is to consider to have occurred with the reigns of François I and Henri II. While François I brought artists such as Leonardo da Vinci to France, his son brought a Medici wife, Catherine de Medici. As the influence of the Renaissance spread through France, even the king’s choice of wife was affected. Catherine de Medici was a part of the Medici noble family who influenced the Italian Renaissance.
When Henri II died, Catherine de Medici became the ruler of France. Thus, the Medici scope of influence did not only affect Florence and Italy. The political prowess of Cosimo de Medici put the family into the position of the most powerful family in Florence, but with the passing of time, they became the ruling family of France with a Medici as the sole ruler of the country. Their political influence is impressive and with that the spread of their influence of art was powerful as well, for the French Renaissance flourished under Catherine de Medici despite the religious wars that were ravaging the country during her rule.