22 Jun Pop Art Renaissance for the House of Medici: Prince Lorenzo de Medici
By David McKenzie
There are few names in the art world that evoke as much heritage as that of Medici. Prince Lorenzo de’ Medici, a descendent of the famous royal house and banking family who supported many artists of the Italian Renaissance, combines his family heritage with modern influences in his paintings. Draped in both historical tribute and contemporary importance, Prince Lorenzo’s artworks provoke some combination of humour, intrigue and admiration. He believes in the value of bringing to life new depictions of the Medici family, one which has given so much to the world of art and luxury, since there are very few prominent portraits and paintings of the family in existence outside the private Medici palaces.
In some ways Prince Lorenzo’s work is a public service. Taking inspiration from the wealth of fabulous paintings in his palace to produce modern interpretations, he is making the history of his family accessible in a new, refreshing way to the public. His personal art collection includes Medici family portraits from between 1200 and 1700, providing ample material for Prince Lorenzo to recreate portraits of the most important Medici family members – 86 in all – with a modern twist.
Each portrait is unique, and each is a combination of the original intent and Prince Lorenzo’s creative input. He believes this is an important process because it allows the portraits, and the figures they depict, to contain certain elements and character which were, for one reason or another, not possible at the time they were painted. Prince Lorenzo feels he has a right, and perhaps duty, to continue to portray the truth about his celebrated family, not to let opinions towards him and his kin to be coloured by anachronistic associations with certain ancestors. He endeavours to seek out and present the truth about members of the Medici family which, over time, may have become clouded.
Previously unknown family secrets may come out through Prince Lorenzo’s portraits, and he is confident in the value of his process to public awareness. He is not afraid of scorn or criticism and believes his heritage gives him the right to critique the Medici family openly, allowing his paintings an absolute freedom which – in addition to their historical associations – gives them significant aesthetic qualities and eye-catching elements.
Prince Lorenzo’s style is driven by a unique combination of two particular artistic influences: the masterful painters of the Italian Renaissance and 20th-century Pop Art. He defines his style, therefore, as Renaissance Pop Art, the very name indicating his belief in the value of evaluating different periods simultaneously, stripping artworks of the inevitable associations with their context or historical period. The result is a collection of unique portraits, each one an unpredictable combination of symbolism, traditional technique, altered expectation and manipulated symbolism.
Prince Lorenzo mixes old and new techniques as frequently as he does artistic styles, switching between using ancient Florentine oil colours, real gold leaf and modern acrylic paints. He finds inspiration from contemporary Japanese and Korean artists, whom he sees as masters of reinterpreting classical technique, including European, through modern lenses, seamlessly merging them with such elements as fantasy. He plans to exhibit his work soon at galleries such as New York’s MoMA, and Art Monaco 2015 was chosen as a platform for Medici to debut a painting shedding new light on his family’s history.
For the moment, it seems the name Medici is to remain as present as ever among European art circles.
“He believes in the value of bringing to life new depictions of the Medici family, one which has given so much to the world of art and luxury”
“Each portrait is unique, and each is a combination of the original intent and Prince Lorenzo’s creative input.”
“Prince Lorenzo believes in his right, and perhaps duty, to continue to portray the truth about his celebrated family”
“A belief in the value of evaluating different periods simultaneously, stripping artworks of the inevitable associations with their context or historical period.”