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Princes of the Renaissance

The Hidden Power Behind an Artistic Revolution

A vivid history of the lives and times of the aristocratic elite whose patronage created the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance.

The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was an era of dramatic political, religious, and cultural change in the Italian peninsula, witnessing major innovations in the visual arts, literature, music, and science. 

Princes of the Renaissance charts these developments in a sequence of eleven chapters, each of which is devoted to two or three princely characters with a cast of minor ones—from Federigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, to Cosimo I de' Medici, Duke of Florence, and from Isabella d'Este of Mantua to Lucrezia Borgia. Many of these princes were related by blood or marriage, creating a web of alliances that held Renaissance society together—but whose tensions could spark feuds that threatened to tear it apart. 

A vivid depiction of the lives and times of the aristocratic elite whose patronage created the art and architecture of the Renaissance, Princes of the Renaissance is  a narrative that is as rigorous and definitively researched as it is accessible and entertaining. Perhaps most importantly, Mary Hollingsworth sets the aesthetic achievements of these aristocratic patrons in the context of the volatile, ever-shifting politics of an age of change and innovation.

Mary Hollingsworth is a scholar of the Italian Renaissance. She is the author of The Cardinal's Hat; The Borgias: History's Most Notorious Dynasty; and Patronage in Renaissance Italy: From 1400 to the Early Sixteenth Century. She divides her time between Italy and England.

Praise for Mary Hollingsworth’s The Family Medici:

“Vivid and well-researched. Hollingsworth's implication is correct and praiseworthy - that we should remember the Medici for what they were, not for what they wanted us to think they were.”

– Christian Science Monitor

“Hollingsworth’s clear, concise family chronology serves as an excellent introduction or handy reference guide to one of the Renaissance’s most infamous families.”

– Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Highly readable. A revisionist view of the celebrated Medici family.”

– Library Journal

“A fascinating warts-and-all history of the rise and fall of the Medici. Hollingsworth effectively debunks the myths surrounding this legendary family. A vital acquisition for anyone who studies the Renaissance and seeks the true role of the Medici in the history of Florence.”

– Kirkus Reviews (starred)

More books from this author: Mary Hollingsworth