Carlo de' Medici
|Carlo de' Medici|
Carlo di Cosimo de' Medici
1428 or 1430|
Florence, Republic of Florence
|Died||May 29, 1492|
|Father||Cosimo de' Medici|
Born at Florence, he was the illegitimate son of Cosimo de' Medici (the Elder) and a slave-woman named Maddalena, who was said to have been purchased in Venice.[a] It is widely accepted that Maddalena was a Circassian, as hinted by Carlo's "intense blue eyes" and other "marked Circassian features" as well. However, it has been once suggested that his mother might have been a black African, only because of the apparently dusky features depicted in Mantegna's portrait of Carlo. Yet, he has blue eyes in the same portrait, and is depicted with standard Italian skin-pigmentation in a painting by Filippo Lippi.
His father forced him to take on a religious life. After becoming canon of the cathedral at Florence in 1450, he was appointed rector of Pieve di Santa Maria (Dicomano) in Mugello and the Pieve of San Donato di Calenzano.
He became Abbot of San Salvatore at Vaiano, outside Prato. He was also Papal tax collector and nuncio in Tuscany. Carlo was dean of Prato as early as 1460. A cultured man, he collected medallions. He died in Florence in 1492.
Carlo was portrayed by Andrea Mantegna in a head-and-shoulders portrait wearing clerical garb in 1466. He also appears in the funeral scene of Filippo Lippi's Stories of St. Stephen and St. John the Baptist in the Prato Cathedral, in which he is depicted standing behind the Pope. He may also be portrayed as one of the figures in Benozzo Gozzoli's paintings of the journey of the Magi in the Magi Chapel in Florence.
- It has been suggested that Carlo's Circassian mother, who later took the name of Maddalena, was at the age of 22 when she was bought allegedly by Cosimo de' Medici's agent from Milan, Giovanni Portinari (c.1363–1436), at the Rialto, Venice in the summer of 1427. Note that since the late 13th century, the Venetian and Genoese merchants and consuls established trade outposts on the Black Sea's eastern coast; brought the Roman Catholic Church to Circassia; and often concluded trade agreements with different representatives of Adyghe nobility.[self-published source] These Italian traders were also actively engaged in the trade of Circassian beauties, selling Adyghe and Abkhazian slaves in the cities of Genoa and Venice. Similar to Carlo, Zacharias de' Ghisolfi, the ruler of Matrega (an ancient town in present-day Krasnodar Krai, Russia), was the product of a Circassian-Genoese marriage. Additionally, the Genoese traveler Giorgio Interiano's work La vita et sito de' Zichi, chiamiti Ciarcassi: historia notabile was among the first Italian accounts on the life and customs of Adyghes.
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