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Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino

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Lorenzo II de' Medici
Portrait by Raphael, 1518[1]
Ruler of Florence
Reign17 March 1516 – 4 May 1519
PredecessorGiuliano de' Medici
SuccessorGiulio de' Medici
Born12 September 1492
Florence, Republic of Florence
Died4 May 1519(1519-05-04) (aged 26)
Careggi, Republic of Florence
Noble familyMedici
Spouse(s)Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne
IssueCatherine, Queen of France
Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence (illegitimate)
FatherPiero the Unfortunate
MotherAlfonsina Orsini

Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici (Italian: [loˈrɛntso di ˈpjɛːro de ˈmɛːditʃi]; 12 September 1492 – 4 May 1519) was the ruler of Florence from 1516 until his death in 1519. He was also Duke of Urbino during the same period. His daughter Catherine de' Medici became Queen Consort of France, while his illegitimate son, Alessandro de' Medici, became the first Duke of Florence.

Early life[edit]

Lorenzo was born in Florence on 12 September 1492, a son of Piero di Lorenzo de' Medici and Alfonsina Orsini.[2] His paternal grandparents were Lorenzo the Magnificent and Clarice Orsini.[2] His maternal grandparents were Roberto Orsini, Count of Tagliacozzo and his wife, Catherine of San Severino.


Lorenzo II became lord of Florence in August 1513, after his uncle, Giuliano de' Medici, handed over control of its government. Ambitious by nature, Lorenzo II, despite being appointed Captain of the Florentine militia, lacked patience with Florence's republican system of government and thus, in 1516, convinced his uncle, Pope Leo X to make him Duke of Urbino at the age of 24.[3] So began a conflict with the city's previous duke, Francesco Maria I della Rovere. During the protracted War of Urbino, Delle Rovere recaptured the city, only to have Medici — commanding a 10,000-man Papal army — in turn, retake the city. During battle, Lorenzo was wounded, which prompted him to retire to Tuscany. In September 1517, he regained Urbino via treaty; however, it remained under the Medici family's rule for only two years. In 1521 the duchy reverted to the Della Rovere family.[3]

On 13 June 1518, Lorenzo married Madeleine de la Tour, daughter of the Count of Auvergne.[4] The marriage produced a daughter, Catherine, in 1519. Catherine de' Medici went on to become Queen of France, via a marriage to the future King Henry II of France, arranged by the second Medici Pope, Pope Clement VII.[5]

Only 21 days after Catherine de' Medici's birth, Lorenzo II died, "worn out by disease and excess."[6] Thus his daughter Catherine was raised primarily by the Medici Popes, Leo X and Clement VII, and their surrogates.

Lorenzo II's tomb is in the Medici Chapel of Florence's Church of San Lorenzo. There is disagreement over which of the two tombs is Lorenzo II's. The received view is that Lorenzo'ss tomb that is adorned by Michelangelo's sculpture Pensieroso, which offers an idealized portrait of Lorenzo II, and that its companion piece, also sculpted by Michelangelo, represents Lorenzo II's uncle Giuliano di Lorenzo de' Medici. But historian Richard Trexler has argued that Lorenzo II, having been Captain of the Florentine militia, must be the figure holding the baton, symbol of military authority conferred by the Republic. Trexler also notes that the "Pensieroso" is holding a mappa, the symbol of military authority in ancient Rome, which would be an appropriate symbol for Giuliano di Lorenzo, who was appointed Captain of Roman forces. In sharing the same name with his illustrious ancestor, Lorenzo the Magnificent, the Duke's tomb is often mistaken for that of his grandfather.[7][8]

Famously, Niccolò Machiavelli dedicated his political treatise The Prince to Lorenzo to advise him of tactics to use to maintain his authority.[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ In private collection, on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from June 26–October 11, 2021
  2. ^ a b Stapleford 2013, p. 12.
  3. ^ a b Cavallo & Evangelisti 2016, p. 74.
  4. ^ Fletcher 2016, p. viii.
  5. ^ "BBC - History - Catherine de Medici".
  6. ^ "Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici, duca di Urbino | Italian ruler". 30 April 2024.
  7. ^ Peter Barenboim, Sergey Shiyan, Michelangelo: Mysteries of Medici Chapel, SLOVO, Moscow, 2006. ISBN 5-85050-825-2
  8. ^ Barenboim P. D. / Peter Barenboim. (2017). "The Mouse that Michelangelo Did Carve in the Medici Chapel: An Oriental Comment to the Famous Article of Erwin Panofsky". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ "Lorenzo de' Medici, Lord of Florence and Duke of Urbino — the Medici Family".


  • Cavallo, Sandra; Evangelisti, Silvia, eds. (2016). Domestic Institutional Interiors in Early Modern Europe. Routledge.
  • Fletcher, Catherine (2016). The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici. Oxford University Press.
  • Rothfield, Lawrence (2021). The Measure of Man: Liberty, Virtue, and Beauty in the Florentine Renaissance. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Stapleford, Richard, ed. (2013). Lorenzo De' Medici at Home: The Inventory of the Palazzo Medici in 1492. The Pennsylvania State University Press.

External links[edit]

Lorenzo II de' Medici
Born: 12 September 1492 Died: 4 May 1519
Italian nobility
Preceded by Duke of Urbino
Succeeded by