Tommaso Portinari


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(b Florence, 1428; d Florence, 15 Feb 1501). Italian banker and patron of the arts. The best-known Florentine patron of Netherlandish painting, Portinari spent over 40 years in Bruges, in the course of which he achieved pre-eminence in its Italian mercantile colony. He went to the Bruges branch of the Medici bank as a junior employee c. 1440, a position he held for many years, during which he built up lucrative contacts and gained a foothold at the Burgundian court. Egotistical and ambitious, he came to resent his subordinate position and eventually, in 1465, persuaded the Medici to appoint him manager. This proved to be disastrous. So gravely did he mismanage its finances that by 1478 the Bruges branch was bankrupt.


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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