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Giovanni di Cosimo de' Medici

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Title: Giovanni di Cosimo de' Medici  
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Subject: Leon Battista Alberti, Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni de' Medici, Piero di Cosimo de' Medici, Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, Michelozzo, Lamentatio sanctae matris ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae
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Giovanni di Cosimo de' Medici

Giovanni di Cosimo de' Medici (3 July 1421 – 23 September 1463) was an Italian banker and patron of arts.

Born in Florence, he was the son of Cosimo de' Medici the Elder and Contessina de' Bardi, and brother to Piero the Gouty.

Unlike the latter, Giovanni enjoyed good health and was seen by Cosimo as his probable successor. From 1438 he directed the branch of the family bank in Ferrara. He received also a humanistic education, showing a major interest in music.


In 1454 Giovanni was elected Prior of Florence and the following year he was a member of the delegation which received Pope Pius II in the city. The following year Cosimo made him general director of the Medici bank, but, unsatisfied because of Giovanni's distraction in arts and other activities, assigned to him Francesco Sassetti as tutor.


Giovanni married Ginevra degli Alessandri, daughter of Alessandro Alessandri, on 20 January 1453. The two had only one child, Cosimino, who died in 1459 at the age of eight. Giovanni had probably two more illegitimate children, who both died young.

He died in 1463, and was buried in the Basilica di San Lorenzo. Later a monument was sculpted for him and his brother by Andrea Verrocchio.

Giovanni de' Medici was a famous patron of arts. He had the Villa Medici a Fiesole built by Michelozzo Michelozzi (but probably in collaboration with Giovanni's friend, Leon Battista Alberti). He had a large collection of sculptures, coins, manuscripts, jewels, musical instruments and other material. Artists who worked for him included: Mino da Fiesole, Desiderio da Settignano, Donatello, Domenico Veneziano, Filippo Lippi and Pesellino.

Giovanni di Cosimo de Medici in Popular Fiction

In Greg Ahlgren's international thriller, The Medici Legacy, a low-level deputy inspector with the Italian Polizia di Stato discovers that the seemingly random victims of a Tuscan serial killer are all actually illegitimate descendants of Giovanni di Cosimo de' Medici. When his superiors and the Italian military police attempt to stonewall his investigation on the basis of "national security," he travels on his own to America to unravel the secret.

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