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The Spinelli of Florence Fortunes of a Renaissance Merchant Family cover
  • ISBN: 9780271019246
  • ISBN10: 0271019247

The Spinelli of Florence Fortunes of a Renaissance Merchant Family

by William Caferro

  • List Price: $119.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/2001
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The Spinelli left behind an archive, acquired by Yale University's Beinecke Library in 1988, that constitutes the largest fund of information about a Renaissance family anywhere outside Italy. Philip Jacks and William Caferro draw upon these papers to tell the story of the Spinelli family's ascent to economic and social prominence during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Letters and financial ledgers, many previously unpublished, are brought together to give an intimate portrait of daily life in Florence, from household affairs to the family's dealings in papal finance and cloth manufacture.

The Spinelli family owed much of its wealth and power to the efforts of one individual, Tommaso, who broke into banking through the Alberti and Borromei organizations, then served as depository general under Pope Eugene IV and as financial officer to three subsequent popes. Tommaso elevated his status in society through ties of business and marriage rather than through political activity, which had led to the exile and decline of several of Florence's once-distinguished families. Like his contemporary, Cosimo de'Medici, Tommaso had a taste for magnificence and poured his considerable resources into the construction of palaces and villas. He also made liberal donations to Santa Croce, the great Franciscan church. Although eager for fame, Tommaso was aware of the danger of public censure and seized upon opportunities to uphold religious and artistic tradition.

This interdisciplinary book, written by an architectural historian and an economic historian, adds significantly to our knowledge of family life, merchant banking, and art patronage in Renaissance Florence.

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