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.
What are my plans for this website? That is up to us! There are lots of possibilities... So tell me what you think!