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The Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art 2013: Circa 1515: Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo

Carmen C. Bambach, curator of drawings and prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A fortuitous rediscovery of documents in the Florentine state archive that have been greatly misjudged in the past led to a reevaluation and affirmation of the central importance of Giuliano de’ Medici (1479-1516) as a patron of the arts. Giuliano, the overshadowed son of Lorenzo de’ Medici “The Magnificent” and brother of Pope Leo X, became Duke of Nemours on his marriage in January 1515. He touched the careers of Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo, the latter of whom immortalized the duke posthumously in the marble sculpture of his tomb in the Medici Chapel, San Lorenzo, Florence. He was the generous, carefree patron of uomini ingegnosi (brilliant men), whom he lavishly maintained in his household, according to the first-hand account of Francesco Vettori, brother to the duke’s maiordomo. In homage to Professor Sydney J. Freedberg who published a book entitled Circa 1600, this talk takes a close look at the year circa 1515 in the careers of these famous artists and their patron.