The Medici chapel, Michelangelo: description and photos

In 1421-1428 year Brunelleschi built a chapel at the side of the Church of San Lorenzo (Medici chapel) in Florence. It was supposed to be a tomb for the house of Medici. Almost a hundred years later Pope Leo X invited Michelangelo to complete its facade. Due to lack of money, the work was stopped.

Florence, Church of San Lorenzo

oldest Church in Florence – the temple of San Lorenzo. 339 in the year the Cathedral was consecrated by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. In the Roman period it was rebuilt and re-consecrated in 1059 year. In 1418 the Medici decided to rebuild it and instructed it to Philip Brunelleschi. Inside the temple are decorated with works by Donatello. Chapel of the princes has become the burial vault of the Dukes of the Medici the second line of the family, beginning with Cosimo I. flaunting her exposed wealth and power of the Medici.

It is filled with all the emblems of cities of the Duchy of Tuscany and the Medici coat of arms on the ceiling. The lush interior of the Florentine mosaic performed for nearly two hundred years. The work is done very carefully. There was supposed to be the burial of six of the Dukes. In fact, the enormous sarcophagi are empty and serve only as funerary monuments. In fact, the Medici are buried in the crypt. Every sarcophagus in the wall niche. they had to be sculptures of the Dukes. However, there are only two monuments-the statue of Ferdinand I and Cosimo II. The dome repeats dome of Brunelleschi and decorated with scenes from the Scriptures.

the Crypt with graves. Chapel of the princes:

a Place to pass the Medici chapel leads directly to the crypt. It is from here you can go to the chapel of princes and the New Sacristy. The crypt is dark and gloomy, which is natural for a tomb, where are buried most of the members of the Medici family, including those who were laid to rest in the chapel of the princes.

In the picture in a stately chair sits highborn lady. This Anna Maria Luisa de ' Medici, the last heir of this family, who died in 1743. She left a huge artistic heritage of his native Florence.

For fans of Michelangelo

In 1520 it took to build the chapel with the tombs for Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano, as well as two other sons of the Medici family, Giuliano, Duke of Nemenskogo, and Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino. In addition, the cardinal Giulio, a cousin of Pope Leo X, wants to instruct Michelangelo in the construction of the library. It needs to accommodate books that belong to the whole family, as well as from different courtiers and other well-known book lovers. Medici chapels and the New Sacristy in it and a library – two important tasks for a 45-year-old, who first have to deal with architecture.
New sacristy – this is one of the architectural projects, which the master brought to an end. It has no less than seven sculptures of the Renaissance genius.

getting started

the Cardinal Giulio of Medici, was elected Pope under the name Clement VII, called Michelangelo to Rome and gave solid guidance on what the Medici chapels should be immediately completed. He wants to be celebrated for centuries no less than Pope Leo X and his predecessors, left a memory as patrons of architecture, sculpture and painting. Ought to immortalize the images, not the former in ancient times the famous Medici, and those who found in Florence the monarchy. It was two young, does not glorify himself Duke. The new Sacristy in the Church of San Lorenzo (Medici chapels) must constitute a single complex with the Old, which was built by Brunelleschi.

Michelangelo conceived and then made it more complex orders, cornices, capitals, doors, niches, and tombs. He departed from the previously adopted rules and customs. The Medici chapel at the request of the Pope should no longer include the tombs of Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano. In pride of place must stand the tombs of Pope Leo X and his own. Wishing that no one ever used the genius of Michelangelo, Clement VII invited the architect to become a monk and get a haircut in the order of St. Francis. When the artist refused, the father gave him a house. Standing beside him was the Medici chapels. Salary exceeds 3 times the amount asked Michelangelo.

Michelangelo in Florence

That had to be done Michelangelo Buonarroti? Medici chapels demanded the extension of the chapel. Followed the build ceiling coving, build a skylight, and perform a number of equally labor-intensive work. And then we can think about the sculptures, which the sculptor had intended to decorate the tombs of Giuliano and Lorenzo de ' Medici. This will require work, and hence the money from Clement VII.

the designs of the sculptures of the Dukes

What feelings will cause the Medici chapel? Michelangelo, not foolishly, assumed that when the sculptures are ready, they will disappoint those who want to see a picture of two of the descendants of the family. They will have a portrait likeness. He wanted to create a new people, born of not only their time but also their own new artistic challenges. The statues of the movement should be transferred to the balance poses, which seems frozen in the air. It will be two strong young men, full of majestic calm.

Medici chapels: description

the tomb of the Medici, the person gets into a very different world, not the one that was on the street. You is a sense of melancholy and the impression that you are in the area. Around are raw facades of the houses, because the dark pilasters, architraves on the rare Windows, the Windows, the white walls of this ensemble give a disturbing feeling of medieval streets and squares. It is this space that includes a person in a gushing stream of time, created by Michelangelo. Tomb of the wizard – a meditation on the measure of variability, duration, and brevity of existence, captured in the fusion of architecture and sculpture.


In the Church of San Lorenzo (Medici chapels) to the New Sacristy looks like a free cube which is crowned by a vault. The architect placed in the walls of the niche with the wall, greatly increased the tombs. For them, he used sculptures in natural size. In front of the altar he placed a sculptural group “Madonna and child" and surrounded it with statues of St. Cosmas and Damian (protectors of the Medici).

Them in his clay sketches were performed by the students. Madonna – the key to the whole chapel. She is beautiful and internally focused. The face of the Madonna bowed to the child. She is full of sorrow and grief. Madonna in deep serious thought. The folds of her clothes create a tense rhythmic action and associate it with the whole architectural form. The baby reaches out to her. It is also filled with the internal dynamics and tensions, which is coordinated with the whole choir. In the composition of the chapel of the Madonna plays a very important role. That it converts figures of Giuliano and Lorenzo.

Statues in the niches

Without a hint of a resemblance in the armor of the ancient Romans sit two allegorical figures. Courageous, energetic Giuliano bareheaded relies on a staff of a commander.

It symbolizes the peace that came after the war. an allegory life effective. While his brother Lorenzo is in deep meditation and symbolizes the contemplative life.

His head, covered with antique helmet, leans on a hand, elbow – a casket, an animal face which is symbolic. It means wisdom and business acumen. Both figures are tired and melancholic. Their niche squeezed, which causes the viewer a sense of anxiety and concern. They are going through serious times of war and unrest, and I remember Lorenzo the Magnificent, the benefactor of Italy, which was peace.

the Figures on the lids of sarcophagi

sliding off the sloping lids of the tombs, barely holding on them, lie the sculptural allegories of morning and evening at the foot of the bed, and days and nights – Giuliano. Characters running time is painfully inconvenient. Them powerful with perfect body proportions – corporeal languor and grief. “Morning” slowly and reluctantly waking up, “Day” bleak awake and anxious, “Evening”, freezing, sleep, “Night” in a deep restless sleep. What is the bird on the Medici chapel? “Night” the foot rests on the owl, which, if you fly up, you'll Wake her up.
Stone which she holds in her hand may fall at any time and also to Wake up. No rest for the «Night». This is evidenced by the miserable mask in her hand.

the Figure of “Day” deserves attention because it is surprising inconsistency sculpture beautiful body and hard turning to the viewer's head. The body is beautiful and polished, and the face slightly emerges, the image of the barely outlined. “Day” bears traces of the tools and neoforman. Flawed figures “Morning” and “Evening”. This creates additional expressiveness, anxiety and threat. The sculptor was not afraid to go beyond his time, forcing the viewer to think and interpret the sculptures as anything. Here in front of you face “Evening” (Medici chapels). The picture confirms the above.

Figures you do not want to live or feel. All together the times of day confirm the Medici motto "Always" (Semper), which means a constant duty. With the figures of the young men of the allegory are enclosed in a stable triangular composition.

“Crouching boy”

the Medici Chapel and grave timelessness, which covers her person, had yet another sculpture that is now in the Hermitage.

It is called “the Boy taking out a splinter”. If you mentally bring him back to the chapel, you will find that the infinity of time is connected with immediacy. It's a small statue, which is freely included in CC It as “Day” not quite finished: it has not modified the bottom, and the back is not polished. The child leaned forward to my sprained ankle, so unusual and unexpected his posture. The sculptor sought to remove from marble only extremely need to if it is going down, then nothing would have broke. The boy is important in the plan, for he is – a moment in time. If Madonna – time, historical, Christian, which United the people of that era, the boy – its brevity. He and the situation and the moment. The figures under niches are in the same cycle of change, and not by themselves, standing out in something special. All the genius there is in life – at the same time and in divers manners.

Laurentian Library

while working in New Sacristy, which he turned into a majestic chapel, Michelangelo built a library. Passing through the cozy courtyard, through the left nave it is possible to get to it. It is intended only for the initiated.

it collected the ancient manuscripts, illustrated codices, the text of the Union, which was concluded at the Council of Florence in 1439. First there was the vestibule, then hall of manuscripts where they can be stored and read. This long room made of grey stone with bright walls. The lobby is high. Further than it, tourists are not allowed. There are no statues, but there are twin columns, which are recessed into the walls. Special attention was paid to unusual marble staircase for which resembles molten lava. She has a semi-circular steep steps and very low railings. It starts at the threshold of the vestibule and extends to form three parts. The master himself was in Rome when his clay model was built the stairs – the main attraction of the lobby.
this concludes the description of the creations of Michelangelo. In this work he embodied their innovative designs. They are so versatile that has gained importance for all mankind. So changed the Medici chapel. Florence received the monument of the Medici, which became a monument to the city itself.