Research Programs


 The Jane Fortune Research Program on Women Artists in the Age of the Medici

With the support of author and philanthropist Dr. Jane Fortune and in collaboration with the Advancing Women Artists Foundation (AWA), this research program focuses on the women artists who were active in the 16th-18th centuries. Based primarily in the Archivio di Stato in Florence, we comb the archives to uncover historical documentation on the lives and work of early modern women artists, especially those with connections to Florence. These findings are disseminated through publications, public lectures, walking tours and scholarly conferences. We encourage younger scholars to join in this quest by offering internships, training in archival research skills, advising, and opportunities for professional growth.    continue reading


The Eugene Grant Research Program on Jewish History and Culture in Early Modern Europe

The Medici Archive Project is pleased to announce a new scholarly initiative: the Eugene Grant Research Program on Jewish History and Culture in Early Modern Europe. Thanks to the generous lead support of MAP board member Eugene Grant, as well as the support of other board members and donors, this program has been established to raise awareness among academic audiences about the great potential of unpublished documentary material on Jewish culture that is found in the Medici Granducal Archive. This archival collection contains circa four million letters from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries covering nearly every aspect of political, diplomatic, economic, artistic, scientific, military and medical culture not only at the Tuscan Court, but also throughout Europe and the Mediterranean world. During the course of the next three years, this program will accomplish a number of scholarly initiatives: making unpublished historical documents on Jewish history available on BIA, organizing conferences and talks in Europe and the United States, and publishing original scholarly research. The director of this program, Dr. Piergabriele Mancuso, will lead a team of postdoctoral fellows, junior scholars and interns and will be based at the Medici Archive Project at the Archivio di Stato in Florence. continue reading


Medicine and the Medici in Grand Ducal Tuscany Research Program

Aside from politics, the single most frequently discussed topic in the letters of the Mediceo del Principato is health. This enormous early modern archive is brimming with important, unpublished descriptions of the practice of medicine and pharmacy, not just at the Medici court, but also in other major European centers such as Venice, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Vienna and Constantinople. Some of these documentary references to medicine have been entered in the BIA digital platform, but the vast majority remain to be discovered and studied. For this reason, the Medici Archive Project has created a research program specifically dedicated to the scholarly exploration and publication of this archive's medical material. Entitled "Medicine and the Medici in Grand Ducal Tuscany Research Program" and directed by Prof. John Henderson (Birkbeck, University of London), this program will exploit these archival resources to further the understanding of a number of key themes within this academic discipline. continue reading


The Birth of News. A Program in Early Modern Media Studies

With the establishment of public mail routes in the early sixteenth century, weekly and biweekly manuscript newsletters, known as avvisi, began to circulate among cities and courts of Europe. The content of these folios ranged from political and financial updates, cultural events, news of catastrophes, plagues, and conflicts as well as social commentary, local color, and gossip. Written by postmasters, information brokers, and anonymous agents, copied by teams of scribes, hawked on the streets, purchased by subscription, and read, often out loud, at court, avvisi originated from places as distant from each other as London, Madrid, Krakow, Venice, Malta and Constantinople. continue reading



France and the Medici (1533-1642). A Research Program in Early Modern French History

Since the times of Cosimo Pater Patriae de' Medici (died in 1464), the relationship between France and Florence has been marked by a special cultural affinity, privileged commercial partnerships, and, at times, political alignment. The Lyons and Avignon branches of the Medici bank were more than financial outposts; they also functioned as bases for southern European diplomacy as well as crossroads for Florentine expatriates. Despite the eventual folding of the Medici banking branches in France in the second half of the fifteenth century, the course traced by their channels,­­­ now taken up by other Florentine banking families, ­­­continued to be employed by merchants, humanists, and artists, all seeking their fortunes in France. From the return of the Medici to Florence in 1512 (and the election of Lorenzo the Magnificent's son, Leo X, to the papal throne the following year) and throughout the history of the grand­ ducal dynasty, French-­Medici political ties were cemented by means of strategic marital alliances. Pope Leo X and King Francis I negotiated the marriage between Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne (the king's distant relative) and Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino and Signore di Firenze (ruler of Florence). Their daughter, Catherine de' Medici, was wed in 1533 to Henry of Valois, who became king of France in 1547, and Marie de' Medici married King Henry IV of France in 1600. continue reading