Thursday, July 14, 2022

It's Good to Be the Duke, Part 6 (the Final)

I don't know about you, but all of these different depictions and versions of the arms of the dei Medici family are starting to run together in my head.

As a consequence, I'm going to finish up with a sampling of some of the rest, most with the usual augmentation, some without it, three of one (or more) of the four Medici Popes (Leo X, Clement VII, Pius IV, and Leo XI), several with different numbers and arrangements of the balls on the shield, and a couple which are so worn away that you need to be looking for Medici arms to recognize them for certain.


Next time, we'll look at something besides the arms (augmented or not) of the dei Medici family. I promise!

1 comment:

  1. Great series well illustrated!
    On September 11, 2012 Yan Blusseau published an article on “The Medici Coat of Arms: beyond the common legends” (“Le Blason Médicis: au delà des légendes communes”).
    Two instructive points are raised.
    1) The Medici (“physicians”) c-o-a are not canting ones. The roundels do not represent “pills” according to expert Louis Borgia rather “umbos”. They are among the oldest charges used in early “Italian” arms, more specifically by bellicose Florentine families. A 1286 armorial shows +10% of Florentine families used them as a charge before the Medici adopted their own.
    2) Piero Medici, The Gouty (1416-69), banker of Louis XI of France who was in excellent (financial)
    terms with the king… and solicited the privilege of using the gold lilies… Louis accepted and granted a royal Letters Patent on May 1465 to “bear in their arms three lilies in the form and manner they are here portrayed” (“porter en leurs armes trois fleurdelises en la forme et manière qu’elles sont ici portraictes”). In terms of occurrence, this is one of the rare concessions made by French kings,
    perhaps the only gift requested! To avoid any ambiguity, the improved Medici arms are painted in the page margin to lock the use of the gold lilies placed on a blue shield (triangle). But curiously, the human eye can only see a blue roundel with lilies. Trickery? In fact, edges have been rounded with gold leaf impossible to notice without a
    magnifying glass. “Crime de lèse Majesté”? Back then falsification of Letters Patent was not rare… but in this case the move was extremely daring with royal lilies. Truly, it was good to be the Creditor of the French king!
    Talking about being creative, have you seen the Medici c-o-a framing the portrait of St Peter by Matteo Rosselli at the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella? Astonishing are the aerial roundels and flying lilies thrown by juggling angels!