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Blast: The House of Medici













Lessson standards

I will demonstrate my understanding by crafting a well-structured and descriptive piece of writing that effectively communicates the influence of my family.

To reflect on and explore the ways in which our families shape who we are and how we express this influence through writing.

Learning Intention

Success Criteria

What will our lesson look like?

I will use descriptive language and figurative language to effectively convey the impact of my family on my life.

Language Objective

Do Now:

  • What aspects of your family do you believe have had the most significant influence on your life?
  • How do you perceive your family's influence on your life?


Do you think having a powerful family legacy is a good thing?

  • A. Yes. A family legacy gives you a tradition to uphold, and a sense of purpose.
  • B. No. Legacies can put too much pressure on you, or prevent you from following your own dreams.
  • C. Maybe. A family legacy can give you a sense of identity, but you also need to know who you are as an individual.


the support given to an artist


people descended from a common ancestor


a family that has a lot of power and rules over a country for many years



an artistic painting on a wall

Does your family have a particular trade that you are expected to learn one day? Perhaps your family is full of doctors or teachers. Maybe your family owns a restaurant down the street. Whatever it may be, each family has its own unique sphere of influence. This influence can stretch from the neighborhood, to the school district, to businesses downtown. During the European Renaissance in Florence, Italy, the Medici family was very influential. Through their wealth and patronage, they developed Florence as the artistic center of the Renaissance. They held power over the city-state for nearly 300 years. The Medici family was originally known for something else: banking. The family moved to Florence around the twelfth century to seek opportunities in the city. The first Medici patriarch to establish the family’s power over Florence was Cosimo de’ Medici. Cosimo gained political influence in 1434 through his talent as a banker and merchant. After he was briefly sent away by his political rivals, the Albizzi family, Cosimo returned to Florence. He used his wealth and popularity to lead the city as an unofficial ruler for the rest of his life. He eventually became known as Cosimo the Elder.

One of Cosimo’s keen talents was his ability to use the financial power of the Medici Bank to both support the city and fund the arts. Cosimo’s patronage helped Florence flourish as an artistic mecca. Some of the projects that Cosimo helped fund included architectural works, such as the Palazzo Medici and the first public library in Florence. The library helped develop the humanist movement. Cosimo also paid for works of art. One of his most famous dependents was the artist Donatello, who created sculptures such as David .Cosimo was a wise and effective leader, but it takes more than one person for a family to truly become a dynasty. Perhaps even more influential than Cosimo the Elder was his grandson, Lorenzo the Magnificent, who succeeded him. Lorenzo was a great politician. He used commissions of murals in the Sistine Chapel to align himself with Pope Sixtus IV. He also secured a supply of valuable alum, which was a key material for glass and textile production. Although a conflict that ensued from the alum mine hurt Lorenzo’s legacy, it was an important resource for trade agreements. Lorenzo also acted as a patron for some of the artistic icons of the Renaissance, including Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo da Vinci.

The Medici family’s influence spanned far beyond these two men. The lineage also included Catherine and Marie de’ Medici, who were both queens of France. Popes Leo X, Clement VII, and Leo XI were Medicis as well. During the two centuries of the family’s power, members of the Medici family married into many of Europe’s royal families.Based on what you’ve learned about the Medicis, what do you think? How important can one family be? Is it good for one family to have so much power and influence? How might families influence their communities in smaller ways? How is your family influential?