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You are Here: > > > > Medici Chapel

Medici Chapel

 
 
The 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 place.

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 of Nemours).

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.





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