My professor, Lorenzo Casamenti, has close ties with the Medici Chapel, a family mausoleum for the Medici created in the early 1500’s . Signore Casamenti, along with past students at the Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute, have helped restore many of the works there. He was also one of the few people that discovered a small chapel beneath the apse that housed numerous drawings by Michelangelo (this was less than 40 years ago! Amazing). They had been drawn during his stay in the Medici Chapel before he was called to paint the large fresco at the Sistine Chapel, so many of the drawing show a spectacular resemblance to the figures he produced in Vatican City. The Medici Chapel is also home to many relics (part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration), which I am obsessed with. Unfortunately, our class trip wasn’t so much focused on the relics there as it was on the tombs, two of which are decorated with sculptures by Michelangelo that present allegories of “Night and Day” and “Dusk and Dawn.” Of course these, being touched by the hands of Michelangelo, were absolutely perfect and objects of great veneration themselves.
After class that day, I visited the Florence Baptistry (“Baptistry of St. John”) which stands in the Piazza across from the Duomo. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, built between 1059 and 1128! For me, the age of the art was very apparent compared to the style in the Cathedral, as the Romanesque figures were depicted using old Byzantine inspired flatness and elongation. Byzantine art between 500 and 700 AD is definitely one of my favorite styles of art ever. They often made mosaics as well, which are always so fascinating and awe-inspiring to me!
What a fantastic day! Seriously one of the most memorable days of my life… art is so amazing!