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==De Medici as Patrons==
[[File:Medici Two.jpg|thumbnail|300px|Lorenzo the Magnificent]]
All of the de Medici had an interest in the arts in the fifteenth century. This was in order to legitimize the rule of the family. The works commissioned by the family often sought to raise the status of the family in the city. They used art to fortify their position in Florentine Society. However, the family was also genuinely fond of art, architecture, and literature. Cosimo was very knowledgeable about architecture and Lorenzo the Magnificent was a connoisseur of paintings and sculptures
. The Medici’s used their lavish wealth to patronize many of the greatest artists of the time. The family was directly responsible for some of the greatest works in the Renaissance. Cosimo the Elder was the patron of the great architect Bruneschelli and it was under De Medici orders that he built the great Medici Sacristy in the Church of San Lorenzo. It was Cosimo who ordered the building of the great De Medici Palace with its magnificent paintings by Ucelleo. It was Cosimo who also commissioned Donatello's, Bronze of David, one of the most influential pieces of sculpture in the period.<ref> Hibbert, p. 134</ref> Lorenzo was equally lavish in his patronage of artists and the commissioning of great works of art.
He is widely seen as perhaps the greatest patron of the arts in Renaissance Italy, but this view has been challenged in recent decades. He also commissioned works from great artists such as Botticelli, Perugino, Ghirlandaio, and Verrocchio. Moreover, Lorenzo established a sculpture garden at San Marco, where he encouraged the young Michelangelo to study works from the Classical Period. Michelangelo produced his first great works under the patronage of Lorenzo.<ref>Miles, p 145</ref> Michelangelo formed part of Lorenzo’s household, and he treated artists as the equals of humanist scholars and poets. This was unprecedented in Republican Florence, where painters and sculptors had only been ;ranked as mere tradesmen or common craftsmen.'<ref> Miles, 117</ref> This raised the status of the artists in the eyes of Florentine society and this was to produce an environment where they had more freedom of expression and this enabled them to produce many great artworks.<ref>Strathern, p 65</ref> Lorenzo not only patronized these great artists but they also patronized many humanists and writers and they all helped to make Florence a leading intellectual center. Ironically, it has been suggested that the de Medici’s lavish expenditure on the arts and buildings led to their financial difficulties from the 1480s onwards, which contributed to their ‘expulsion from the city in 1494.<ref>Miles, p 134 </ref>