Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici (1667-1743), also known as the Electress of Palatine, played a vital role in Florentine history. She was the last descendant of the Medici family and she recognized the importance of preserving her family legacy and patrimony. She is known as a great patroness of the arts, having added significantly to the Medici family collection.
Anna Maria Luisa was born in Florence on August 11, 1667, the only daughter of Cosimo III de’ Medici. She was raised mostly by her paternal grandmother, as her mother, Marguerite Louise d’Orléans, left her when she was seven years old. Anna Maria Luisa was thought to have personality traits similar to her father and grandmother.
After a number of potential matches were declined, Anna Maria Luisa married Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine in 1691. Thus she became the Electress of Palatine. She lived harmoniously with her husband in Düsseldorf, Germany from 1691-1717. During her time living in Germany, she facilitated artistic exchange with Tuscany. Unfortunately, Anna Maria Luisa and her husband were not able to produce any children, which left the Medici family with no benefactor for its patrimony.
Anna Maria Luisa returned to Florence in 1717 as a widow. Upon her return, she commissioned an impressive amount of works from numerous Tuscan artists. With the impending death of her brother Grand Duke Gian Gastone, Anna Maria Luisa created the Family Pact of 1737. This document stipulated that the Medici art collections could not be sold or taken out of Florence. Ultimately this pact saved the extensive Medici collections and has preserved the wealth of Florence. The Family Pact is perhaps one of the most important actions she did in her lifetime which has made an enduring impact.
What did Anna Maria Luisa do for Florence and Tuscany?
Anna Maria Luisa accomplished the following:
- She supported and patronized a large range of artworks from numerous Tuscan artists
- She facilitated artistic exchange between Italy and Germany
- She commissioned important works to be done in the church of San Lorenzo
- She created the Family Pact of 1737
With these contributions to Florentine history, Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici established Florence as a culturally artistic center of Italy that continues to generate tourism from all over the world.
Post by Brianna Pohl