Upon the return of the Medici to power in Florence, Lorenzo the Elder worked tirelessly in the family's
|Pierfrancesco in Filippino Lippi's|
Adoration of the Magi
"Orphaned" (in this era of Italian history, the death of the father would constitute being orphaned) at the age of seven, Pierfrancesco was raised by his influential and intellectual uncle Cosimo. He would go on to serve the Republic, and henceforth his uncle, as an astute and talented ambassador, first to the pope (1458) and then to Mantua (1463). In 1459 he served as Priore delle Arti.
The single misstep in this man's career came in 1466 when he became part of Lucca Pitti's attempted coup of his cousin Piero (Cosimo's son). Forgiven for his transgression, Pierfrancesco would live out his years serving the family banking establishments dilligently, bringing help to his younger cousin Lorenzo the Maginificent at a momentous point in history. Upon Pierfrancesco's death in 1476, the same cousin Lorenzo would adopt and raise Pierfrancesco's two children.
As for Cosimo, he gave birth to a total of three children. His illegitimate son Carlo was discussed in a previous post. With his wife, Contessina de Bardi, Cosimo conceived two sons, neither of whom would greatly distinguish themselves.
|Giovanni di Cosimo de Medici|
by Francesco Salviati
|Villa Medici a Fiesole|
Nonetheless, Giovanni left a lasting legacy. As a renowned patron of the arts, he sponsored such great talents as Mino da Fiesole (whom he had build the Villa Medici a Fiesole), Desiderio da Settignano, Donatello, Domenico Veneziano, Pesellino, and most importantly Filippo Lippi.
The hopes of the Medici family fell upon the surviving, legitimate child, Piero, known also as Piero the Gouty. As his nickname implies, he was not his father's first choice of successor due to his poor health, but on the passing of his brother, he had no choice but to step up to the helm. Piero became the last Medici to be elected as Gonfalonier of Justice in 1461. And though he did not possess either the wisdom or the virtue of his father, he came to power upon Cosimo's death in 1464, a death brought on by the same gout Piero suffered. To his credit and his detriment, Piero was known as a good-natured man, inclined to be merciful, mild, and lenient, wonderful qualities in a human, easily manipulated qualities in a politician. It has been said that Piero almost allowed himself to be governed, some men usurping so much authority they nearly stripped him of his power completely.
Piero di Cosimo de Medici scuffled with the Venetians and the Vatican in his lifetime, especially with the advent of Pope Paul's papacy. He was able to send diplomats in search for the answers to such antagonism, but he died before peace--and peace there was--was made.
Passing in 1469, serving only five years as the defacto ruler of Florence, this impotent if incurably kind man was grieved over by the entire city. With his intellectual, erudite, and prolific wife, Lucrezia Tornabuoni, Piero left two sons...two sons whose fate would be inextricable entwined with the city of their birth, each changed forever by each other.