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Lorenzo the Elder (c. 1395 – 23 September 1440) was an Italian banker of the House of Medici of Florence, the younger brother of Cosimo de' Medici the Elder and the founder of the so-called dei Popolani line of the family.

Lorenzo the Elder
Born 1395
Florence, Republic of Florence
Died 23 September 1440 (aged 45)
Careggi, Republic of Florence
Noble family Medici
Spouse(s) Ginevra Cavalcanti
Francesco de' Medici
Pierfrancesco the Elder
Father Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici
Mother Piccarda Bueri



Lorenzo was the son of Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici and Piccarda Bueri.[1] He was educated by Carlo Marsuppini.[citation needed] In 1416 he married Ginevra Cavalcanti.[2] To celebrate their marriage, Francesco Barbaro wrote De Re Uxoria,[2] a document on marriage which continued to be published for centuries.[3] Lorenzo and Ginevra had two sons: Francesco, who was childless, and Pierfrancesco,[1] who originated the Popolani line. Ginevra Cavalcanti was an aunt of the wife of Giovanni Arnolfini.

Lorenzo followed his brother Cosimo in his moves at Ferrara, Verona and Vicenza. In 1433 he tried to muster an army to free Cosimo when the latter was arrested under the charge of tyranny. Later he joined him at Venice and returned with him in Florence triumphantly after Cosimo's rehabilitation.

Though dedicating himself much to banking activity, Lorenzo held several charges in the Florentine Republic, and was ambassador to Pope Eugene IV and the Republic of Venice. In 1435 he moved to Rome to oversee the affairs of the Medici Bank at the Papal court.

Lorenzo the Elder is ancestor to all the Grand Dukes of Tuscany through his direct descendant Cosimo I de' Medici. He is also the ancestor to the kings of France from Louis XIII and on, through Marie de' Medici, who married King Henry IV of France.

He died in the Villa of Careggi[citation needed] in 1440 and was buried in the Basilica of San Lorenzo.[4]

Fictional DepictionsEdit

A young Lorenzo is portrayed by Stuart Martin in the 2016 television series Medici: Masters of Florence.[5] Although the television production has him assassinated, these events did not take place in real life. The show appears to be using elements from a later attack on his great nephew, also named Lorenzo, for dramatic effect. [6]


  1. ^ a b Tomas 2003, p. 7.
  2. ^ a b Tomas 2003, p. 14.
  3. ^ Rose 1857, p. 135.
  4. ^ Pernis & Adams 2006, p. 17.
  5. ^ "Medici: Masters of Florence". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  6. ^ "What Masters of Florence Gets Wrong". The Florentine. Retrieved 31 October 2017. 


  • Pernis, Maria Grazia; Adams, Laurie (2006). Lucrezia Tornabuoni de' Medici and the Medici family in the fifteenth century. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0820476455. 
  • Rose, Hugh James; Rose, Henry John; Wright, Thomas (1857). A new general biographical dictionary. T. Fellowes. 
  • Tomas, Natalie R. (2003). The Medici Women: Gender and Power in Renaissance Florence. Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 0754607771.