At some time around the first half of the fifteenth century the Florentine merchant Giovanni Rucellai commissioned the architect Leon Battista Alberti to design a shrine which could serve both as Rucellai's tomb and as a reflection of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. In so doing Alberti created a work that could function not only as a family and religious shrine but could also refer to the history of the city of Florence. The Florentines at this time saw their city as the center of commerce, the arts, humanistic studies, and religion. All these activities converged in the idea of Florence as a "New Jerusalem.
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