Instituted by Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici in 1541, for almost two hundred years the German Guard – the ‘Guardia de’ Lanzi’ in Florentine jargon – was a constant and high-profile presence at the very heart of the Medici court, watching over the safety of the grand dukes and of their immediate families. By the time the new ruling dynasty – the Lorraine – replaced them with a Swiss Guard, the Lanzi had evolved into a crucial crossroads of diplomatic, cultural and social interchange between Tuscany and the German world. Still, since they were foreigners and a symbol of a regime that Italian Risorgimento and nationalist historiography branded as tyrannical and decadent, the Lanzi are today largely forgotten.
In rescuing the ‘Lanzi della Loggia’ from oblivion The Medici Archive Project, in collaboration with the Gallerie degli Uffizi, has organized an exhibition on the history of the German Guard. A selection of paintings, engravings, drawings, weapons, armor, archival records, printed books, maps and music traces the history of the Lanzi and addresses its impact on the social and cultural life in Florence, from its foundation under Duke Cosimo I, to the extinction of the Medici dynasty in the mid-eighteenth century. The curators are Maurizio Arfaioli, Pasquale Focarile, and Marco Merlo.
The title of this exhibition – inspired from the size of the German Guard, always a hundred men strong – is ‘Cento lanzi per il Principe’, and opened on 4 June 2019 in the Sale del Levante at the Uffizi Galleries, which face the Loggia dei Lanzi where the German Guard had its headquarters. The exhibition will close on 29 September 2019.
For further information and to book a guided tour contact Carlotta Paltrinieri: firstname.lastname@example.org