For more than three centuries, the Medici dynasty ran Florence, Italy, becoming the most influential art patrons the world has ever known. The multinational bankers kickstarted the Renaissance by forming the first art school and gave much-needed financial patronage to Michelangelo, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Sandro Botticelli, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci and Filippo Brunelleschi, among others. Despite the nickname "God's Bankers," the family didn't provide commissions out of charity, but rather ostentation: Botticelli painted Medici family members side by side with the Holy Family, so that should give you an idea of the less-than-modest branding... More >>>