Patronage, Architecture and Magnificence in Cosimo de’ Medici’s Florence
Ena Heller, Ph.D., Director, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College
Although history remembers Lorenzo de ’Medici as “The Magnificent,” associating the Medici family with the ancient notion of magnificence goes back to the time of his grandfather Cosimo the Elder, first of the family to become de facto ruler of Florence in the 15th century. This lecture explores the connections between Cosimo’s architectural patronage and changes in Renaissance thought about expenditures, civic duty, and the ideal ruler, as well as how they impacted the revival of antiquity in architecture.
Ena Heller is the Bruce A. Beal Director of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. She came to Rollins in 2012 from the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA) in New York City, where she was founding Executive Director. Prior to MOBIA she held positions in the Medieval and Education Departments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Registrar Department at the Museum of Modern Art. Dr. Heller’s teaching experience includes appointments at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) and Manhattanville College (Purchase, NY). She was a contributing editor for the volumes Perspectives on Medieval Art: Learning through Looking (2009) and Reluctant Partners: Art and Religion in Dialogue (2004) and the numerous exhibition catalogs. Other publications include essays to the collective volumes in History of Jewish Architecture (forthcoming 2020); From the Margins I & II: Women of the Hebrew Bible and their Afterlives/Women of the New Testament and their Afterlives (both in 2009); Women’s Space: Patronage, Place, and Gender in the Medieval Church (2005). Dr. Heller holds a Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and is a graduate of the Getty Museum Leadership Institute. She has presented papers at the conferences of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries, Society of Architectural Historians, College Art Association, at the Institute of Fine Arts, and at numerous museums and universities throughout the country, and is the recipient of the 2010 Religion and Arts Award from the American Academy of Religion. Under her tenure at Rollins, the museum’s visitor numbers tripled; more than 750 new acquisitions joined the collection; $1million was added to the endowment for exhibitions; and the operating budget doubled.