Artful Allies - Medici Women as Cultural Mediators (1533-1743)

Internationale Tagung / Convegno internazionale

The establishment and preservation of the Medici principate was linked to an international marriage policy through which the rulers of Tuscany strove to win powerful allies and to promote their dynastic ambitions.

This conference explores the patronage of women who became involved in such marriage strategies and who were consequently in a position to act as cultural (and sometimes also political) mediators between two European courts. The chosen timeframe encompasses the two centuries of the Medici principate between the wedding of Caterina de Medici (1533) and the death of Anna Maria Luisa de Medici (1743). Protagonists of the conference are the French queens Caterina and Maria de Medici, the Grand Duchesses Eleonora di Toledo, Giovanna d'Austria, Cristina di Lorena, Maria Maddalena d'Austria and Vittoria della Rovere, the Archduchess Claudia de Medici, the Princess Violante Beatrice di Baviera and the Electress Palatine Anna Maria Luisa de Medici. The papers will examine the role of women from the Medici family at other courts as well as the cultural initiatives of the "foreign" women who became Grand Duchesses of Florence.

This conference, which is co-sponsored by Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut, is the last in a series of three events within the framework of the collaborative research project MEFISTO (Medici-Frauen Interdisziplinär: Soziale Rollen, kultureller Transfer, mäzenatisches Œuvre). MEFISTO was initiated in 2004, hosted by the Bibliotheca Hertziana and made possible through the generous support of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (see


Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies:

Dr. Christina Strunck  

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