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Mary Hollingsworth: Renaissance Historian Explores the Medicis

Mary Hollingsworth is a scholar of the Italian Renaissance and author of The Cardinal’s Hat, The Borgias: History’s Most Notorious Dynasty and two highly regarded books on patronage of the arts in Renaissance Italy. She has a PhD in Art History from the University of East Anglia and as well as art history, she has broadened her horizons and expertise into the everyday world of Renaissance Europe. Her talk will focus on her latest book on The Medici

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The Medici (Publisher: Head of Zeus)
Having founded the bank that became the most powerful in Europe in the fifteenth century, the Medici gained political power in Florence, raising the city to a peak of cultural achievement and becoming its hereditary dukes. Among their number were no fewer than three popes and a powerful and influential queen of France. Their patronage brought about an explosion of Florentine art and architecture. Michelangelo, Donatello, Fra Angelico and Leonardo are among the artists with whom they were associated.

Thus runs the 'received view' of the Medici. Mary Hollingsworth argues that the idea that they were wise rulers and enlightened fathers of the Renaissance is a fiction that has acquired the status of historical fact. In truth, the Medici were as devious and immoral as the Borgias – tyrants loathed in the city they illegally made their own and which they beggared in their lust for power.

Mary will be introduced by Jonathan Walker who is an author, member of the British Commission for Military History and is an Honorary Research Fellow in War Studies at the University of Birmingham. He has written and contributed to ten books, andhas appeared in television, film and radio documentaries, including acting as historical advisor for a number of television dramas including the recent BBC1 series ‘The Last Post’ set in Aden.