Clement VII, Pope
(Giulio de'Medici, 1478-1534)
   Elected pope in 1523. An illegitimate and posthumous son of the murdered Giuliano de'Medici, Giulio was brought up with the sons of his uncle Lorenzo de'Medici, educated by the humanist Gentile Becchi, and committed to the service of his cousin Giovanni when the latter became a cardinal in 1492. When Giovanni de'Medici became pope as Leo X in 1513, he made Giulio archbishop of Florence and a cardinal. From 1519 Giulio also managed the Medici family's restored control of Florentine political life. Although his humanistic education and early exposure to the artistic patronage of his Medici relatives created great expectations of his becoming a munificent patron of Renaissance art and humanistic studies, his many political and financial setbacks, culminating in the Sack of Rome by the army of the Emperor Charles V in 1527, meant that Pope Clement had neither the leisure nor the financial resources to accomplish much in the field of culture—or, for that matter, in the field of church administration and reform, since his desperate fiscal situation blocked any possibility of reforming the abuses rampant in the Roman curia because reform inevitably would mean reduced income for the papal treasury. Despite his promising background, Clement was largely a failure as a patron of Renaissance culture.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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