Gian Gastone de’ Medici (1671-1737) was the last heir of the Medici family who held a position of power in Florence. As a young child, he was abandoned by his mother Marguerite Louise of France and neglected and ignored by his father Cosimo III and the rest of his family. This was a factor in his famously melancholy demeanor. He received a good education and was particularly talented in language and literature. He was also had an interest in botanical studies and would experiment with herbs.
Gian Gastone’s sister Anna Maria Luisa eventually suggested a bride for him. This proposed bride was Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg, who was described as extremely unattractive and appalling. Under the pressure of his family, Gian Gastone married her. He found life married to her to be unbearable and after 10 months of marriage he fled to a residence in Prague. Gian Gastone would return to his wife sporadically due to the insistence of his father, Cosimo III, for him to produce an heir. Eventually he returned to Florence without his wife.
Who was Gian Gaston de’ Medici?
Gian Gastone was known in public for his depression, alcoholism, gambling, sexual exploits and aversion to the church. Gian Gastone succeeded into power at the late age of 53 after his father Cosimo III died. Gian Gastone did not have much ambition for his role, yet he understood his family duty and chose wisely his advisors. Although Gian Gastone did not have a favorable reputation during his lifetime, he was highly intelligent and under his reign implemented just laws. Under his rule Florence flourished.
Unfortunately, Gian Gastone did not produce an heir to receive the family patrimony, which effectively ended the Medici Dynasty when he died in 1737.
Post by Brianna Pohl