Medici Chapels in Florence are but a part of the San Lorenzo monumental
complex. These chapels date back to the early fifteenth century, lasting
until the seventeenth. The Medici family held the San Lorenzo church
as their official church, and eventually became their final resting
The first of the Medici's
to become buried in the complex was Giovanni de Bicci de Medici,
who now lies in the mausoleum with his wife Piccarda in the Sacristy
of Brunelleschi. He was eventually joined by his son Cosimo the
Elder. Aside from this family, Cardinal Giulio de Medici, who would
become Pope Clement VII, also wanted a mausoleum for members of
his own family, such as Lorenzo (Duke of Urbino), and Giuliano (Duke
It was Michelangelo who took it upon himself to
design and start the Medici family tomb in 1520. He created the
New Sacristy opposite that of Brunelleschi's Old Sacristy.
The project saw completion in the year 1524 with most of the design
derived from Brunelleschi's creations. Afterwards, the great
Michelangelo broke ground on the sculptures for each of the sarcophagi,
but only managed to complete those meant for Dukes Lorenzo and Giuliano.
The sculptures of Madonna and Child, together with St. Cosmas and
St. Damian, were created by two of Michelangelo's students,
Montorsoli and Baccio di Montelupo. These sculptures were placed
above the two dukes' tombs.
It is quite a shame that only a few of the
planned sculptures of Michelangelo's saw light. In 1976, the
great artist's sketches were found on the walls of the structure.
His drawings were found in various nooks under the apse and the
church's sacristy. From these sketches, it was clear that
Michelangelo had more plans for the chapel and the family tomb,
as most sculptures had heads, masks, legs, feet, and other parts
that would have made the chapel even more mystical than it is today.