Cosimo I de’Medici and Granducal Florence – Alessio Assonitis and Stefano Dall’Aglio

Event Date: 12 June 2019
The Lecture Room
Warburg Institute
Woburn Square,
London WC1H 0AB

The Warburg Institute presents:

Cosimo I de’Medici and Granducal Florence

Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519-1574), first Grandduke of Tuscany, was both a consummate administrator and a fierce patron of the arts. The lecture series Cosimo I De’Medici and Granducal Florence celebrates the 500th anniversary of Cosimo I de’ Medici’s birth by bringing together scholars from across the humanities to discuss Cosimo’s achievements in art, architecture, statecraft, scholarship and culture. Pairs of scholars will offer specialist discussions over the course of six evenings, from June to November 2019. Evenings will be devoted to issues of diplomacy and spying, architectural and artistic commissions, the development of universities and libraries, as well as Cosimo’s personal learning and self-representation.


Introduction by Dr Raphaële Mouren (Librarian and Reader in History of the Book and Libraries, Warburg Institute):


Dr Alessio Assonitis (Medici Archive Project) – Cosimo I de’ Medici’s Material World
Drawing mostly from unpublished letters from the Medici Granducal archive, this paper will examine Cosimo I’s patterns of patronage and taste, with a specific focus on collecting rare books, exotica, mirabilia and judaica; his network of antiquarians and book agents, such as Jacobiglio ebreo and Cosimo Bartoli; and the role of his cultural broker at court, Pierfrancesco Riccio.


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Dr Stefano Dall’Aglio (Ca’ Foscari University, Venice) – ‘He had eyes and ears everywhere’. Cosimo I de’ Medici’s Network of Spies, informers and Ambassadors
This paper will analyse the web of informants created by Cosimo I de’ Medici in sixteenth-century Italy and Europe. After his appointment, Cosimo was quick to understand how news control was crucial for the survival of his young and fragile state and organised multiple layers of informants – not just official agents and ambassadors, but also spies and undercover agents – that kept him up-to-date with current events.


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