Imagining the Americas in Medici Florence

By (author) Lia Markey

Hardback - £63.95

Publication date:

24 August 2016

Length of book:

264 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271071152

The first full-length study of the impact of the discovery of the Americas on Italian Renaissance art and culture, Imagining the Americas in Medici Florence demonstrates that the Medici grand dukes of Florence were not only great patrons of artists but also early conservators of American culture.

In collecting New World objects such as featherwork, codices, turquoise, and live plants and animals, the Medici grand dukes undertook a “vicarious conquest” of the Americas. As a result of their efforts, Renaissance Florence boasted one of the largest collections of objects from the New World as well as representations of the Americas in a variety of media. Through a close examination of archival sources, including inventories and Medici letters, Lia Markey uncovers the provenance, history, and meaning of goods from and images of the Americas in Medici collections, and she shows how these novelties were incorporated into the culture of the Florentine court.

More than just a study of the discoveries themselves, this volume is a vivid exploration of the New World as it existed in the minds of the Medici and their contemporaries. Scholars of Italian and American art history will especially welcome and benefit from Markey’s insight.

“Lucidly written and beautifully illustrated. . . . Just as Medicean artists and their patrons cast their city as heir to the legacy of ancient Rome, Markey shows the myriad ways in which they were able to reimagine Florence as the discoverer and the master of the New World through the power of representation.”

—Louis Alexander Waldman, Renaissance Quarterly