Medici Chapel Fine Art Photograph
Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy
My wife, Debbie and I recently enjoyed an amazing vacation to Europe. We started in Tuscany, enjoying the Medieval hilltop wine town of Montepulciano and then met our daughter, Emma in the Medieval masterpiece, Florence, Italy. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Florence several times in the past, so I’ve seen many of the main attractions that it has to offer. During my first visit to Florence, as a college student, I recall other traveling students raving about the Medici Chapel. I briefly researched it but never managed to find the time to visit. Well, during our most recent visit, I carved out a few hours and frankly, I was astounded. Florence offers an abundance of historic treasures. As the birthplace of the Renaissance, it was a major cultural, financial and political hub of Europe from the 13th-16th Centuries.
The fact that, somehow I missed this architectural marvel the first few times I visited Florence, is remarkable. I should note that the Medici Chapels are actually two connected structures which are actually part of the Basilica of San Lorenzo located in the main market district of Florence. While the Basilica of San Lorenzo is historic, it is less than spectacular by Florentian standards. The Medici Chapels are SPECTACULAR! The two separate structures are the Sagrestia Nuova( New Sacristy) and the Capella dei Principi(Chapel of the Princes).
The Capella dei Principi is like nothing else I’ve seen. It is as if the designers challenged themselves to incorporate the most colorful collection of marble the world has ever seen. It is simply amazing. It is an octagonal dome 59 meters high and can be seen from much of Florence. The chapel was conceived by Cosimo I, the Grand Duke of Tuscany and was actualized by Ferdinand I de’ Medici. It was designed by Matteo Nigetti and constructed by Bernardo Buontalenti who altered some of the plans during the construction process. In 1559, Cosimo I passed a decree which allowed wealthy noble families to sell wine they had produced at their own homes, tax free. In response to this fiscal boon, Noble families created wine windows which connected their homes to consumers on the outside. To learn more and to view my new fine art photograph, visit the Wine windows of Florence.
The remarkable interior of the Chapel of Princes is elaborately adorned with exquisite marble and semi-precious stones. At the request of Ferdinando I de’ Medici in 1588, the “Opificio delle pietre dure”(Workshop of semi-precious stones) was established to develop stone-working methods inspired by Byzantine inlay work. The artisans of the workshop perfected the inlay techniques utilized in the creation of the revetment on the interior of the Chapel of the Princes. Today, the Opificio is a world renowned institute dedicated to art restoration and conservation, still based in Florence.
The Sagrestia Nuova is accessed through the Chapel of Princes. Designed by Michelangelo, is essentially a mausoleum, for the Medici family which contains tombs composed of stunning sculptures created by …. Michelangelo. They are a must see and it is easy to miss the entire structure, so seek it out if you happen to visit the Medici Chapels.
This new Medici Chapel fine art photograph is my best attempt of capturing the remarkable beauty of one of Florence Italy’s true architectural treasures!