The mind of a genius

Duration: 3 hr
Site visited:
New Sacristy, the Gallery of the Accademia*
Price for 1-4pax:
Additional price for headsets from 5-10 pax: €30
*Entry & reservation fees: not included

Into Maturity

According to Michelangelo’s 16th-century biographer, Giorgio Vasari, “To be sure, anyone who has seen Michelangelo’s David has no need to see anything else by any other sculptor, living or dead.” (“Life of Michelangelo”,  in Lives of the Artists, I/339)

The David, Michelangelo’s first major commission for his hometown, Florence, will be immediately recognized by his contemporaries as ground-breaking. Conserved in the Galleria dell’Accademia, this museum also houses his powerful and engaging unfinished sculptures: the Slaves (or Prisoners).

The New Sacristy, in the museum of the Medici Chapels, is another of Florence’s unique treasures. Conceived by the Medici Popes to honor their dead: Lorenzo il Magnifico, his brother Giuliano, Lorenzo’s son Giuliano Duke of Nemours, and Lorenzo’s grandson, Lorenzo Duke of Urbino are all buried here. We will also see extraordinary examples of Michelangelo’s innovative style in sculpture and architecture, from the beautiful statues of allegories of time, Night & Day, Dawn & Dusk to the magnificent vaulted dome.

Michelangelo will work consistently for the Medici in the complex of San Lorenzo. He designed and created the New Sacristy commissioned by the Medici Popes not only due to his personal connection to the family but also because of his prestigious accomplishments. He devises unique and inventive sculptural and architectural designs wherein all elements enhance religious ideals of faith and mortality. Here, some of the most beautifully enigmatic sculptures remain almost hidden to the public eye.

In the Galleria dell’Accademia, we will then confront the David and discuss how and why, under many aspects, Michelangelo’s genius is manifested in this inventive masterpiece. We will also discuss his Unfinished Slaves, four statues intended to decorate the tomb of Pope Julius II, which bring insight into the technique and creative process of the artist. More technical and thematic innovations, more plays on texture on light and shadow, more of the artist, his mind, and personality.