I never met the Medici in person, but I have been living behind the scenes at their Court since 1974, when I arrived in Florence as an Art History grad student at Oxford University. Then, I stayed on - apart from a teaching gig at Harvard and a few years in New York.
Anna Maria Luisa, Last of the Medici, died in 1743 but her family left their papers behind - including millions of documents now in the Florentine National Archive. These allow us to follow the cycle of daily life at their Court and hear the Medici narrate historical events - big and small - in their own words.
Once you experience the thrill of time travel by way of (formerly) confidential documents, it is hard to stop. And fortunately, I never had to! Over the years, I published many books and articles, including: Patterns in Late Medici Art Patronage (Princeton, 1983); After Vasari (Princeton, 1988); Jews and Magic in Medici Florence and A Jew at the Medici Court (both Toronto, 2011).
In 1993, I founded the Medici Archive Project in order to deliver some of this astonishing documentation live-and-online. I remained at MAP as director until 2005. But after a dozen years of administration and fundraising, the call of the Archive had become too strong! I missed the daily immediacy of hands-on research - of personal access to the Medici Past.
For my most recent books, see:
I am now developing some new projects and I will tell you all about them in due course.
What are my plans for this website? That is up to us! There are lots of possibilities... So tell me what you think!