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The Medici family

active 14th century - 18th century

The Medici were a Florentine family whose wealth was founded on their wool business and banking firm. After a year's exile in 1433 Cosimo the Elder, known as Pater Patriae, Father of his country, established himself as de facto head of the Florentine government; he was succeeded by his son Piero and grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent.

After a further period of exile, the dynasty was restored as rulers of Florence when Giovanni de' Medici became Pope Leo X. Rule in Florence was consolidated through a collateral branch headed by Cosimo the Younger, who became Duke and ultimately Grand Duke of Tuscany; this title was handed on to his successors.

In the 15th and 16th centuries the Medici were very important patrons of the leading artists of the day.

These two companion panels are said to have come from the Medici-Riccardi Palace in Florence.