Medici, Lucrezia de (1425–1482)
Medici, Lucrezia de (1425–1482)
Italian businesswoman . Name variations: Lucrezia Tornabuoni. Born Lucrezia Tornabuoni (of an ancient aristocratic and powerful Florentine family) in 1425; died in 1482 in Florence; married Piero "il Gottoso" de Medici also known as Piero or Pietro de Medici (1416–1469, a preeminent figure in Florence), about 1444; children: Lorenzo de Medici, the Magnificent (1449–1492, unofficial ruler of republican Florence during the Renaissance period, who was a poet, diplomatist, and celebrated patron of the arts); Giuliano (1453–1478); Bianca de Medici (who married Guglielmo dei Pazzi); Nannina de Medici (who married Bernardo Rucellai); Maria de Medici (who married Lionetto de' Rossi).
Lucrezia de Medici made an important contribution to the emerging prestige of the Medicis. She was born into the wealthy Tornabuoni family and married Piero de Medici when she was about 19. At the time, the Medici of Florence was just establishing itself as a leading Italian dynasty, with great wealth, extensive lands, and close ties to the royal families of Italy; within a century, it would be recognized across Europe as one of its leading political houses. Lucrezia assisted in this development largely through her business acumen, her administrative skills, and her willingness to act as her husband's surrogate in negotiations and financial transactions.
Among other activities, Lucrezia arranged the marriages of her children—a key aspect of creating a stable power base in the Middle Ages. Since the health of Piero de Medici was poor, Lucrezia seems to have been intent on grooming her son Lorenzo the Magnificent to replace his father. Lorenzo's precocious brilliance as an adolescent was manifested in the rapidity with which he learned the ropes of interstate diplomacy and the political management within Florence. After Piero died in 1469, Lucrezia maintained the Medici fortune for Lorenzo, managing their affairs so completely that he was free to occupy himself wherever he wanted.
Lorenzo's formidable mother was as much responsible as his father for setting Lorenzo a good example of how to influence and control events by the cultivation of clients and friends. When she died at age 57, in 1482, Lorenzo wrote that Lucrezia had long been "an instrument who relieved me of many burdens. … The sole refuge in my many troubles."
Anderson, Bonnie S., and Judith P. Zinsser. A History of Their Own. Vol. I. NY: Harper & Row, 1988.
Brucker, Gene. Renaissance Florence. John Wiley, 1969.
Foster, Philip. A Study of Lorenzo de' Medici's Villa at Poggio a Caiano. 2 vols. Garland, 1978.
Hale, John. Florence and the Medici. Thames & Hudson, 1977.
Hook, Judith. Lorenzo de' Medici. Hamish Hamilton, 1984.
Roover, Raymond de. The Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank (1397–1494). Harvard University Press, 1963.
Ross, Janet. Lives of the Early Medici as Shown in Their Correspondence. Chatto & Windus, 1910.
Rubinstein, Nicolai. The Government of Florence under the Medici (1434–94). Clarendon, 1966.
Laura York , M.A. in history, University of California, Riverside, California