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Francesco I de' Medici

 

Francesco I de' Medici

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Francesco I de' Medici
Francesco by Bronzino
Grand Duke of Tuscany
Reign 21 April 1574 – 17 October 1587
Predecessor Cosimo I
Successor Ferdinando I
Spouse Joanna of Austria
Bianca Cappello
Issue
Eleanor, Duchess of Mantua and Montferrat
Anna de' Medici
Maria, Queen of France
Philip, Grand Prince of Tuscany
House House of Medici
Father Cosimo I
Mother Eleanor of Toledo
Born (1541-03-25)25 March 1541
Florence
Died 17 October 1587(1587-10-17) (aged 46)
Poggio a Caiano, Tuscany
Burial Medici Chapel
Religion Roman Catholicism

Francesco I (25 March 1541 – 17 October 1587) was the second Grand Duke of Tuscany, ruling from 1574 until his death in 1587. He was the second grand duke of the house of Medici.

Biography

Born in Florence, he was the son of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Eleanor of Toledo, and served as regent for his father starting in 1564.

Marriage to Joanna of Austria

On 18 December 1565, he married Joanna of Austria, youngest daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anne of Bohemia and Hungary, after among others Princess Elizabeth of Sweden had been considered. By all reports, it was not a happy marriage. Joanna was homesick for her native Austria, and Francesco was neither charming nor faithful. Joanna died at the age of thirty one in 1578.

Bianca Cappello

Soon after the Grand Duchess Joanna had died, Francesco went on to marry his Venetian mistress, Bianca Cappello, after aptly disposing of her husband, a Florentine bureaucrat. Because of the quick remarriage and similar occurrences among the Medici (Francesco's younger brother Pietro had reportedly killed his wife), rumors spread that Francesco and Bianca had conspired to poison Joanna. Francesco reportedly built and decorated Villa di Pratolino for Bianca. She was, however, not always popular among Florentines. They had no children, but Francesco adopted her daughter by first marriage Pellegrina (1564- ?) and her son Antonio (29 August 1576 - 2 May 1621), who was first adopted as a newborn child by Bianca with the intention to present him to Francesco as "own child" by means of changeling.


Like his father, Francesco was often despotic, but while Cosimo had known how to maintain Florentine independence, Francesco acted more like a vassal of his father-in-law, the emperor, and subsequent Holy Roman Emperors. He continued the heavy taxation of his subjects in order to pay large sums to the empire.

He had an amateur's interest in manufacturing and sciences. He founded porcelain and stoneware manufacture, but these did not thrive until after his death. He continued his father's patronage of the arts, supporting artists and building the Medici Theater as well as founding the Accademia della Crusca. He was also passionately interested in chemistry and alchemy and spent many hours in his private laboratory/curio collection, the Studiolo in the Palazzo Vecchio, which held his collections of natural item and stones and allowed him to dabble in amateur chemistry and alchemical schemes.

Francesco and Bianca died on the same day both at the Villa di Poggio a Caiano. Although the original death certificates mention malaria, it has been widely speculated that the couple was poisoned, possibly by Francesco's brother, Ferdinando. While some early forensic research supported the latter theory,[1] forensic evidence from a study in 2010 found the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which causes malaria, in the skeletal remains of Francesco I,[2] strongly bolstering the infection theory and the credibility of the official documents.[3] The whereabouts of Bianca's remains are unknown and therefore have not been tested. Francesco was succeeded by his younger brother, Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

In 1857, all members of the Medici family were exhumed and reburied in the place where they still lie today. A painter, Giuseppe Moricci (Florence 1806-1879) attended the ceremony and depicted Francesco with a facial droop, a right claw hand appearance, the right shoulder internally rotated, the right calf muscle wasted and a right clubfoot confirmed by orthopedic footwear within the coffin.[4] These are the features of a right sided stroke possibly within the internal capsule. The presence of the orthopedic footwear suggests that this stroke happened sometime before his death. During life, in his official portraits, the Grand Duke was always depicted as being in perfect physical condition. The cause of his stroke is not known but malaria is known to cause this condition

There is a famous portrait of Francesco as a child by Bronzino, which hangs in the Uffizi gallery in Florence. Francesco's marriage to Bianca and the couple's death was exploited by Thomas Middleton for his tragedy Women Beware Women, published in 1658.

Children

Francesco and Johanna had seven children:

  1. Eleonora (1 March 1566 – 9 September 1611), who married Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua (1562–1612).
  2. Romola (20 November 1568 – 2 December 1568)
  3. Anna (31 December 1569 – 19 February 1584)
  4. Isabella (30 September 1571 – 8 August 1572)
  5. Lucrezia (7 November 1572 – 14 August 1574)
  6. Marie (1575–1642), who became Queen of France by her marriage to Henri IV in 1600.
  7. Filippo (20 May 1577 – 29 March 1582)

Descendants

To Louis XV of France

Via Henrietta Maria of France

Descendents of Francesco I de' Medici, Grand duke of Tuscany, in six generations

Francesco I de' Medici
Grand Duke of Tuscany
Daughter:
Marie de' Medici
Queen of France
Granddaughter:
Henrietta Maria of France
Queen of England
Great-Granddaughter:
Princess Henrietta of England
Duchess of Orléans
Great-Great-Granddaughter:
Anne Marie d'Orléans
Queen of Sardinia
Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter:
Princess Marie Adélaïde of Savoy
Dauphine of France
Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson:
Louis XV of France
King of France and Navarre

Via Louis XIII of France

Descendents of Francesco I de' Medici, Grand duke of Tuscany, in six generations

Francesco I de' Medici
Grand duke of Tuscany
Daughter:
Marie de' Medici
Queen of France
Grandson:
Louis XIII of France
King of France and Navarre
Great-Grandson:
Louis XIV of France
King of France and Navarre
Great-Great-Grandson:
Louis, Grand Dauphin
Dauphin of France
Great-Great-Great-Grandson:
Louis, Dauphin of France, Duke of Burgundy
Dauphin of France, Duke of Burgundy
Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandson:
Louis XV of France
King of France and Navarre

To Anne of England

Descendents of Francesco I de' Medici, Grand duke of Tuscany, in four generations

Francesco I de' Medici
Grand duke of Tuscany
Daughter:
Marie de' Medici
Queen of France
Granddaughter:
Henrietta Maria of France
Queen of England
Great-Grandson:
James II of England
King of England, Scotland and Ireland
Great-Great-Granddaughter:
Queen Anne of England
Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland

Ancestry

References

Further reading

External links

  • "The Medici Archive Project", from the Medici Archive Project
  • "The Medici Archive Project Bio Page"
  • "Medici Family History"
  • "Toledo-de' Medici, Leonor de (Eleonora)", from The Medici Archive Project
  • "Osorio Pimentel, María", from The Medici Archive Project
  • Template:MLCC, from Medieval Lands Project
Preceded by
Cosimo I de' Medici
Grand Duke of Tuscany
1574–1587
Succeeded by
Ferdinando I de' Medici
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