Treat Yourself Royally!

Part One: Alessandro de'Medici & Royal Drama

This is the first in a three-part series featuring our Royalty portraits, on occasion of the upcoming Royal wedding in Britain on May 19th. This week, we revisit some truly epic stories in the annals of royalty.

The British royals may be the biggest proof of our ongoing cultural love affair with royalty, but they're far from the only example. Another show is lighting up the Netflix airwaves today – Medici: Masters of Florence – following the fortunes of a great banking family that eventually became a royal family with ducal titles. The first Medici Duke, one of the popular faces in our photo-to-painting portrait gallery, was Alessandro de'Medici.

Great bankers and rulers of Florence, the Medicis are most famous today as the patrons of artistic geniuses of the Renaissance like Donatello, Michelangelo and da Vinci; some of the Medici themselves, meanwhile, led lives that would themselves have made stories worthy of a Shakespeare play. Alessandro was one of these, living and dying on the fault-lines of a complicated battle for authority between Italy's vibrant Republics and the age-old privileges of Popes and Emperors. It was Emperor Charles V of Spain who gave him the title of Duke in his early twenties… and with it, a whole lot of trouble.

Being a Royal in medieval Europe was a life of luxury, but we don't always remember how dangerous a business it could be. More than a few Royals lived fast, died young and left colourful legends behind them, like more dangerous versions of the rock and roll icons of modern times. Alessandro, known as "il Moro," had bitter enemies from the get-go. His popularity with the poor aroused the envy of the rich. He was despised by a faction of republicans who thought his rise as a Duke interfered with his home city's sovereignty. He was envied by kinsmen of his house who thought they had more right to wield power.

The young Duke was defiant, insouciant in the face of his enemies' barbs, and every bit as ruthless as they were. Bitter controversies, duels and murders surrounded him… and the last of those finally reached him when he was struck down by a conspiracy hatched by his cousin Lorenzino seven years into his reign.

His was a brief interlude in a long family saga, but it illustrates a lot of what makes Royalty compelling as a subject of myths, legends and stories. It's not just about the luxury, the air of dignity, in portraits like this one. It's also about the heightened drama that went with it, about lives lived to the fullest even if they ended tragically. It's about having our own connection to those heightened and vivid lives that form the core of many of our customized paintings.

Thankfully, today, you don't have to risk getting stabbed with a sword to get a piece of that colourful legacy for your wall at home, or as a gift to friends or family. All you have to do is visit Nobilified, pick your Royal portrait, send us a selfie, turn it over to one of our professional oil painters and let us transform your photo into an oil painting worthy of the finest—and maybe some of the wildest—royal legacies. It's a risk-free way to treat yourself royally.