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DateEvent
26 November 2019Bankrolling the Renaissance: A history of the Medici family
25 April 2019An Introduction to 20th Century Art
13 November 2018The Arts of Japan and Europe: Fascinating parallels and contrasts throughout history
21 November 2017The Lives and Works of Lee Miller and Roland Penrose
14 March 2017"Not Bloody Likely" - The Marketing of Covent Garden 1600-2000
08 November 2016The Treasures and Palaces of St Petersburg
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24 November 2015 Mozart - Salzburg - Vienna
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25 November 2014 The Art and Scandalous Lives of the Bloomsbury Group
18 March 2014Treasures from the Royal Collection
26 November 2013Theatrical Personalities of the 20th Century : Evans, Gielgud, Richardson, Olivier and Ashcroft
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15 November 2012The Grand Tour and the Influence of Italy on English Gardens
22 March 2012The River Thames
24 November 2011The Culture of China
15 March 2011Twentieth Century English Gardens
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Bankrolling the Renaissance: A history of the Medici family Douglas Skeggs Tuesday 26 November 2019

Cambridge Fine Arts. Writer, Artist, TV Presenter. Lecturer to many London art courses. Director of the New Academy of Arts. Author of 6 Novels.


The Medici were in many ways an unattractive family.  Ruthless in pursuit of profit for their Florentine bank, which had branches in every city of the known world, they were greedy for success, merciless to those who opposed their ambition and vicious in their own internal squabbles.  And yet without them we wouldn’t have Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”, the Fra Angelico frescoes in San Marco, Donatello's “David” or the majestic Michelangelo sculptures in the Medici chapel.  The Platonic Academy wouldn’t have been founded and the doors for the Baptistry would never have been cast.

This Study Day, composed of three talks, looks into the turbulent history of this extraordinary family.

 Session 1: Bankrolling the Renaissance

Under the guidance of Cosimo Medici, the family became the unofficial rulers of Florence and leading patrons of the arts.  This inevitably aroused fierce jealousies, which boiled over in the attempted assassination of Cosimo’s grandson Lorenzo.

Session 2: Popes and Patrons

With Florence gripped by the apocalyptic preaching of Savonarola, the Medici were exiled from Florence.  But they re-emerged triumphantly as Popes in Rome.  Here their decadent and eccentric rule led to the Sack of Rome and ultimately opened the door to Luther’s Reformation of the Church.

Session 3: From Riches to Royalty

Although the Medici were a spent force in Italy, an ingenious marriage had put Catherine de Medici on the throne of France, to be followed, shortly afterwards, by Marie de Medici. This last talk looks at the impact these two formidable queens had on the shape of French history. 

The study day will be held at Kennaway House on November 26th 2019.  Booking forms can be found here.