Galileo's Medici Patrons

The Medici Family Crest
The Medici Family began their patronage starting with Cosimo de' Medici (1389 - 1464), who spent a considerable amount of his wealth on cultivating literature and the arts. Cosimo supported artists, such as Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Michelangelo, and many more. In doing so, Cosimo de' Medici shaped Florence into a cultural center of Europe and a new breeding ground for Humanists. 

Now, let's fast forward and get to Galileo Galilei's patrons. 

Ferdinand I de' Medici (1549 - 1609), married to Grand Duchess Christina, was the first Medici to invest his time in Galileo. Ferdinand was deeply interested in scientific matters. For example, Ferdinand I admired and protected Tomasso Campanella, who was a respected philosopher and theologian. In 1588, Ferdinand I appointed Galileo to the professorship of mathematics at the University of Pisa. During this time, Galileo was tutoring Ferdinand I's son, Cosimo II, in mathematics during the summer. 

Four Moons of Jupiter
When Ferdinand de' Medici died in 1609, Cosimo II de' Medici ascended the throne as the new, young Grand Duke. During this time, Galileo tried to maintain his connection with the Medici family because he was very dependent on patronage. Galileo desperately needed patrons to help him gain advancement. 

As a result, Galileo built a telescope (one that was somewhat better than his first one) and sent it to the Grand Duke Cosimo II. By then, Galileo had discovered the moons of Jupiter, which he ingratiatingly called the "Stars of Medici" in honor of the family whose patronage he desired. Cosimo was won over by this gift and re-appointed Galileo as the Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy at Pisa. Galileo was grateful for Cosimo II's advancement because being called a philosopher, at this time, was very important. Philosophers looked down on mathematics and this appointment gave him equal status to both options. Furthermore, Galileo gained great recognition for his ideas through his association with the Medici. 

Galileo Galilei's discoveries and writings brought honor to the House of Medici, but they also sustained him and gave him a platform for expounding his ideas. Ultimately, Galileo found perfect patronage in the House of Medici. 

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