Florentine ruler and patron Lorenzo de Medici.

Lorenzo de’ Medici

(1449 - 1492)

More poet than banker by inclination, “Lorenzo the Magnificent,” the spendthrift heir of the Medici fortune, subsidized the early efforts of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Considered the most brilliant of the Medici rulers, the statesman, ruler, and patron of the arts Lorenzo de’ Medici ruled Florence with his younger brother Giuliano from 1469 to 1478 and, after the latter’s assassination, was sole ruler from 1478 to 1492.

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Lorenzo de’ Medici once observed a young sculptor complete the head of an old and wrinkled faun whose mouth he had rendered open. While astonished at the craftsmanship, Lorenzo pointed out that old men never have all their teeth. Once the great patron of the arts had left, the artist knocked out one of the teeth; when Lorenzo returned and saw the statue again, he was so taken with the new version that he decided to adopt the artist, whose name was Michelangelo.

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