Leopoldo de' Medici

Last updated
Prince Leopoldo
Portrait of Cardinal Leopoldo de Medici.jpg
Portrait by Baciccio held at the Uffizi
Born(1617-11-06)6 November 1617
Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Tuscany
Died10 November 1675(1675-11-10) (aged 58)
Florence, Tuscany
Full name
Leopoldo de' Medici
Grand Ducal House of Medici
Father Cosimo II of Tuscany
Mother Maria Maddalena of Austria
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Leopoldo de' Medici (6 November 1617 – 10 November 1675) was an Italian cardinal, scholar, patron of the arts and Governor of Siena. [1] He was the brother of Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. [2]



Prince Leopoldo was born at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany then ruled by his father, Grand Duke Cosimo II. His mother Maria Magdalena of Austria was a sister of Queen Margarita of Spain and Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor.

Leopoldo was educated under Jacopo Soldano, Father Flaviano Michelini and Evangelista Torricelli. When his brother was elected Grand Duke, Leopoldo acted as his advisor for manufactures, agriculture and trades. Leopoldo, a disciple of Galileo, took a real interest in the proceedings of the justly celebrated academy 'Del Cimento' (the test), signing its correspondence, following closely the work of Evangelista Torricelli da Modigliana, inventor of the barometer.

He took a great interest in science and technology. In 1638 he founded the Accademia Platonica, and, together with Ferdinando, the Accademia del Cimento ("Academy of Experiment") in 1657 to promote observation of nature through the Galileian Method. [2] [3] In 1641 Leopoldo had been named member of the Accademia della Crusca, for which he edited the entries regarding art for the 3rd edition of the Crusca Dictionary (1691).

Leopoldo was also a great collector of rare books, paintings (the Venetian collection at the Uffizi is inherited from him), drawings, statues, coins and self-portraits. [4] He left a wide correspondence with artists and art collectors of his time. He experimented with telescopic lenses and all manner of scientific instruments, and also commissioned those thermometers, astrolabes, calorimeters, quadrants, hygrometers, quadrants and other ingenious mechanical devices which visitors to the Pitti Palace saw displayed in such profusion. Leopoldo spent four hours each day 'up to his neck in books'.

On 12 December 1667 Pope Clement IX named him cardinal of Santi Cosma e Damiano. From that point on Leopoldo made frequent trips to Rome, pursuing his artistic interests. He died in 1675. His large collections are included in several museums of Florence.

Leopoldo had a long correspondence with Christiaan Huygens. [5]


Related Research Articles

House of Medici Renaissance Italian Banker family

The House of Medici was an Italian banking family and political dynasty that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the first half of the 15th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of Tuscany, and prospered gradually until it was able to fund the Medici Bank. This bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century, and it facilitated the Medicis' rise to political power in Florence, although they officially remained citizens rather than monarchs until the 16th century.

Evangelista Torricelli Italian physicist, inventor of the barometer

Evangelista Torricelli was an Italian physicist and mathematician, and a student of Galileo. He is best known for his invention of the barometer, but is also known for his advances in optics and work on the method of indivisibles.

Christina of Lorraine Grand Duchess consort of Tuscany

Christina of Lorraine or Christine de Lorraine was a member of the House of Lorraine and was the Grand Duchess of Tuscany by marriage. She served as Regent of Tuscany jointly with her daughter-in-law during the minority of her grandson from 1621 to 1628.

Vincenzo Viviani Italian scientist

Vincenzo Viviani was an Italian mathematician and scientist. He was a pupil of Torricelli and a disciple of Galileo.

Ferdinando II de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany Grand Duke of Tuscany

Ferdinando II de' Medici was grand duke of Tuscany from 1621 to 1670. He was the eldest son of Cosimo II de' Medici and Maria Maddalena of Austria. His 49-year rule was punctuated by the beginning of Tuscany's long economic decline. He married Vittoria della Rovere, a first cousin, with whom he had two children who reached adulthood: Cosimo III de' Medici, his eventual successor, and Francesco Maria de' Medici, Duke of Rovere and Montefeltro, a cardinal.

Cosimo II de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany Grand Duke of Tuscany

Cosimo II de' Medici was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1609 until his death. He was the elder son of Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Christina of Lorraine.

The Accademia del Cimento, an early scientific society, was founded in Florence in 1657 by students of Galileo, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli and Vincenzo Viviani and ceased to exist about a decade later. The foundation of Academy was funded by Prince Leopoldo and Grand Duke Ferdinando II de' Medici. The tenets of the society included:

Ferdinando de Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany Grand Prince of Tuscany

Ferdinando de' Medici was the eldest son of Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Marguerite Louise d'Orléans. Ferdinando was heir to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, with the title Grand Prince, from his father's accession in 1670 until his death in 1713. He is remembered today primarily as a patron of music. An excellent musician himself, he attracted top musicians to Florence and thus made it an important musical center. Through his patronage of Bartolomeo Cristofori, Ferdinando made possible the invention of the piano.

Archduchess Maria Maddalena of Austria Grand Duchess consort of Tuscany

Maria Maddalena of Austria was Grand Duchess of Tuscany from the accession of her husband, Cosimo II, in 1609 until his death in 1621. With him, she had eight children, including a duchess of Parma, a grand duke of Tuscany, and an archduchess of Further Austria. Born in Graz, she was the youngest daughter of Charles II, Archduke of Inner Austria, and his wife Maria Anna of Bavaria. During the minority of her son, Grand Duke Ferdinando, she and her mother-in-law acted as regents from 1621 to 1628. She died on 1 November 1631 in Passau.

Vittoria della Rovere Grand Duchess consort of Tuscany

Vittoria della Rovere was Grand Duchess of Tuscany as the wife of Grand Duke Ferdinando II. She had four children with her husband, two of whom would survive infancy: the future Cosimo III, Tuscany's longest-reigning monarch, and Francesco Maria, a prince of the Church. At the death of her grandfather Francesco Maria della Rovere, she inherited the duchy of Urbino which reverted to her second son, Francesco Maria, at her death. She was later entrusted with the care of her three grandchildren. Her marriage brought a wealth of treasures to the House of Medici, which can today be seen in the Palazzo Pitti and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Paolo Falconieri (1638–1704) was an Italian architect, painter and mathematician, from a noble family of Florence, whose intellectual interests were wide-ranging, one of the virtuosi of the first scientific century.

Eustachio Divini Italian scientist

Eustachio Divini was an Italian manufacturer and experimenter of optical instruments for scientific use in Rome.

Giancarlo de Medici Catholic cardinal

Giancarlo de' Medici was an Italian cardinal of the House of Medici. He was the second son of Grand Duke Cosimo II of Tuscany and his wife, Maria Maddalena of Austria, and the brother of Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Michelangelo Ricci Mathematician and Roman Catholic Cardinal

Michelangelo Ricci (1619–1682) was an Italian mathematician and a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

Tribune of Galileo

The Tribune of Galileo is a Neoclassic architectural addition, built to commemorate the famous Florentine scientist, Galileo Galilei and to house some of his scientific instruments.

Carlo Roberto Dati Italian philologist and scientist

Carlo Roberto Dati (1619–1676) was a Florentine nobleman, philologist and scientist, a disciple of Galileo (1564-1642) and, in his youth, an acquaintance of Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647).

Reale Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale scientific museum in Florence, Italy

The Reale Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale was an Italian museum founded on February 22, 1775 in Florence that survived until 1878, when its collections were split up in various Florentine museums.

Tommaso Rinuccini was an Italian noble, diplomat and friend of Galileo Galilei.

Niccolò Arrighetti

Niccolò Arrighetti was Italian intellectual, pupil and associate of Galileo Galilei.

<i>Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca</i> First dictionary of the Italian language

The Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca was the first dictionary of the Italian language, published in 1612 by the Accademia della Crusca. It was also only the second dictionary of a modern European language, being just one year later than the Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española by Sebastián de Covarrubias in Spain in 1611.


  1. Mirto, Alfonso. "MEDICI, Leopoldo de'". Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Treccani. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  2. 1 2 "Leopoldo de' Medici". Brunelleschi.imss.fi.it. Museo Galileo. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  3. Luciano Boschiero (2007-09-04). Experiment and Natural Philosophy in Seventeenth-Century Tuscany: The History of the Accademia del Cimento. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 178. ISBN   978-1-4020-6246-9.
  4. "Mèdici, Leopoldo de'". Enciclopedia Treccani. Treccani. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  5. Huygens, Christiaan. Oeuvres complètes, Tome VI: Correspondance 1666–1669 (1895)
Leopoldo de' Medici
Born: 6 November 1617 Died: 10 November 1675
Political offices
Preceded by
Mattias de' Medici
Governor of Siena
Succeeded by
Mattias de' Medici
Governor of Siena