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Michelangelo: money and medals
Bronze medal of Lorenzo and Giuliano de' Medici, by Bertoldo di Giovanni
Michelangelo spent his youth in Florence at a time when the city was a centre for new ideas. He learned to draw, paint and sculpt, training under the painters Domenico and Davide Ghirlandaio and subsequently under the sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni.
Michelangelo's talent brought him to the attention of Lorenzo de' Medici (1449-1492), ruler of Florence, and he was invited to live in the Medici palace. This period was intellectually significant for him, and he came into contact with philosophers and artists while living in the ruling household.
This bronze medal would have been known to Michelangelo because it was made by his teacher Bertoldo di Giovanni. It commemorates Lorenzo's escape from an assassination attempt led by members of the rival Pazzi family. Lorenzo's head looms over the choir of Florence cathedral, where the attack, shown below, took place. His brother Giuliano, who died in the attack, is shown on the other side. The medal is one of several pieces of propaganda which proclaimed the safety of Florence under Lorenzo.