LAY PATRONAGE AND OBSERVANT REFORM IN FIFTEENTH-CENTURY FLORENCE
A CENTRAL CONCERN Of late medieval and Renaissance Christians was with the "authenticity" of religious life -- its conformity to the animating spirit of the early Church and of the sainted founders of religious orders. The normal consequence of this preoccupation was internal reform in religious orders, the can for stricter observance of the rule handed down within each institution. In this chapter, Nicolai Rubinstein analyzes the interest of laypeople in this process of reform in Florence: their financial contributions to the building or enlargement and embellishment of Observant religious houses and their influence on the character of Observant life. Like Gene Brucker, Professor Rubinstein introduces a number of the main personalities and themes of Christianity and the Renaissance. Cosimo and Lorenzo de' Medici and his grandson, Lorenzo; their exemplary initiative in providing lay support on a lavish scale; the role of learned lay patrons in promoting humanistic studies in monasteries; and the sometimes conflicting tastes of lay patrons concerned with personal aggrandizement and friars looking for simplicity of life.
NICOLAI RUBINSTEIN is Emeritus Professor of History of the University of London. He is the author of The Government of Florence under the Medici (1434-1494), published in 1966, and of many essays on Italian, particularly Florentine, medieval, and Renaissance history. He is general editor of the letters of Lorenzo de' Medici.