Taking in the Art at Medici Chapel in Florence

“Extra cheese!? Who do you take me for, Lorenzo de Medici?”

– C. Montgomery Burns

There was a lot on my list of things to see in Florence — I had to get to Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David, the Uffizi Gallery for tons of art, and plenty of churches. And I know I missed out on a lot more.

medici chapel florence
Outside Medici Chapel

Along my walk during the first day in Florence, I stepped into one site that should have been on my list. I was just getting oriented in the city after my train ride and checking into the hostel when I found myself in the Medici Chapels. It was conveniently located near my hostel and was on the way to Piazzale Michelangelo, which I hadn’t actually planned on visiting, but I’m certainly happy I did.

Upon seeing the sculptures throughout the chapel, memories of art classes past rushed through my mind. It’s difficult to remember what year, but I recall writing about Renaissance art and spending significant time on the works commissioned by the Medici family. Seeing those same works of art in person was an awe-inspiring moment.

medici chapel
Dome at the Chapel of Princes

Just walking into the Chapel of Princes is a moment of beauty, from the tiles floor to the ornate dome.

Known as the Sagrestia Nuova, the chapel was designed by Michelangelo in the 16th century and intended as a mausoleum for the family. Michelangelo did not complete the chapel, but the building contains some of his amazing sculptures.

Medici Chapel
Altar at Medici Chapel

The chapel and mausoleum are quite a testament to the wealth of the Medici family. Even if the chapel lacked the great work of Michelangelo, this would be an impressive historic site to wander through.

medici chapel
Lorenzo’s tomb

The sculptures at the tombs of Lorenzo and Giuliano are most impressive, though most visitors focus on Michelangelo’s sculpture of “Madonna with Child” between the Medici patron saints Cosmas and Damian. I, on the other hand, immediately recognized the artwork at the tombs.

Madonna with Child
Michelangelo’s Madonna with Child

The statues “Day and Night” at Giuliano’s tomb are the more impressive works, particularly with the detail on the face next to Night. The sculpture is part of an allegory of the four parts of day.

Michelangelo Day and Night
Day and Night (night is on the left)

Of course, in typical fashion of my adventures in travel, much of the chapel was undergoing renovations and shrouded in scaffolding.

medici chapel

It was disappointing to have the view of the chapel obscured by the renovations, but at least I was able to see the work of Michelangelo while there.

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