Award-Winning cast includes Dustin Hoffman and more
This article is the first of a series that we will offer to our Italia Living audience. We will describe a unique period of history: the Renaissance in Florence and the role of the Medici family as Patrons of Arts and sponsors of this golden age of the artistic creativity.
We will start our journey with a successful TV episode series, now available on Netflix. Medici: Masters of Florence is a historical drama dealing with the Medici family, which ruled Florence in the Renaissance. This eight-episodes series, co-produced by the Italian company Lux Vide, Big Light Productions (UK), WILD Bunch TV (Germany) and RAI Fiction, was aired by RAI, the Italian TV network starting from last October.
The show has been very successful on the RAI premiere, receiving over 27% share on TV (or about seven million viewers).
The story was created by Frank Spotnitz (X-Files, The Man in the High Castle) and Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II). Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (The Pillars of the Earth) is the director.
The cast includes the twice Oscar® winner Dustin Hoffman, playing Giovanni de’ Medici, the family patriarch and founder of the Medici Bank, the most powerful and successful banking empire in the Fifteenth Century.
Other main characters are Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), playing Cosimo de’ Medici, Stuart Martin, playing Cosimo ’s brother Lorenzo, Emmy and BAFTA Awards winner Brian Cox (King Lear, Braveheart), playing Bernardo Guadagni, and Annabel Scholey (Being Human, Walking on Sunshine), playing Contessina, Cosimo’s wife.
This first series (the second one being currently under development) describes the rise of the Medici family which has not a noble origin, so the clever Giovanni had to work hard in order to build a bank in Florence, later to build a banking network all over Europe and finally to create the Medici dynasty to rule Florence to the end of the century.
The plot is a mix of mystery, drama, power, love, and it develops in the first half of the Fifteenth century. As the story is quite complex, we would like to help the Italia Living audience to better understand this fascinating Renaissance era, which was a golden age for the arts and culture for mankind.
In these times, you could find in Florence’s streets Donatello, Brunelleschi (the artist who created the Florence Duomo’s dome), Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
This unique period of art was made possible by the Medici, who were patrons of arts and sponsors of many art workshops (Botteghe), where each Master (Maestro) was teaching young artists his expertise: Verrocchio had been Master to Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, for example.
This way, the skill and art of a Maestro was passed to a new generation of artists, who developed their own art with a link to their Maestro’s artistic heritage.
Portraits of the Medici in Art
We wish to explain some historical facts about the Medici dynasty, and we will use some works-of-art of the Renaissance to identify the real Medici characters as portrayed by artists of their times.
The first hint we wish to give in this article—more will follow in the near future—is a detail of the spectacular Magi Chapel, a jewel of Palazzo Medici in Florence, once home of the Medici Family in Cosimo’s times.
In the next episode, we will be talking about the birth of the Medici dynasty, Giovanni de’Medici’s time.
Written by Sergio Porrini, Next-Generation Virtual Reality Expert & ItaliaLiving.com Contributor.
The Magi Chapel pictures are courtesy of Virtualiter.net.
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