by Maggie Bell 

Lucrezia di Lorenzo de’ Medici was born on 4 August 1470 to Clarice Orsini and Lorenzo il Magnifico.  She received an education from her grandmother Lucrezia Tornabuoni, a vernacular poet (pictured above), and from her mother, though she may also have been tutored by Angelo Ambrogini, known as Poliziano, a humanist in the service of her father.  Lucrezia grew up in a tumultuous period for the Medici. The Pazzi family’s attempted assassination of Lorenzo and Giuliano de’Medici took place in 1478, when Lucrezia was eight years old.  In light of her family’s precarious situation, Lucrezia’s marriage was viewed as a strategic opportunity, and she was eventually promised to one of the Medici allies, Jacopo Salviati, who she married in 1486. 

Lucrezia participated in the vibrant atmosphere of artistic patronage in fifteenth-century Italy.  She supported Florentine writers like Girolamo Benivieni, and also financially contributed to building projects in Rome at the behest of the Medici pope Leo X, particularly focusing on convents.  Lucrezia died in December of 1553, living to the age of 83. 

Further reading:

“MEDICI, Lucrezia de”, nell’enciclopedia Treccani, Accessed August 3, 2017.

Tomas, Natalie R. (2003). The Medici Women: Gender and Power in Renaissance Florence. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Lucrezia Tornabuoni, attributed to Domenico Ghirlandaio, c. 1475, tempera and oil on panel, The National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.).

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