Behind the church of San Lorenzo, the Medici Chapels Museum consists of the Medici Crypt, the Chapel of the Princes and Michelangelo's New Sacristy.
Along with the sculptural and architectural decorations, the museum displays the Treasure of the San Lorenzo Basilica: reliquaries and liturgical objects, great examples of Renaissance and Baroque goldsmith's art.
The vast Crypt, where the members of the Medici family are buried, leads to the Chapel of the Princes, which houses the grandiose funerary monuments of the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany. It is an octagonal hall, wholly covered with semi-precious stones and rare marbles inlays, topped by a wide frescoed dome. Works started in 1604 by the architect Matteo Nigetti and went on for over two centuries.
The rich inlaid decoration was made by the grand ducal workshops, joint together to form the Opificio delle pietre Dure (Semi-precious Stones Workshop). At the wishes of the Medici popes, Leo X and Clement VII, Michelangelo worked to decorate the New Sacristy between 1520 and 1534, in successive stages. The architecture and the sculptural decoration, including funerary monuments of members of the Medici family, were designed and begun by Michelangelo before he went to Rome. The New Sacristy was carried out and arranged as we see today by Giorgio Vasari and Bartolomeo Ammannati.
Chapel of the Princes:
The sarcophagi of six Medici Grand Dukes are located against the walls of the big octagon; above two of them, within niches, two colossal gilded bronze statues, cast by Pietro and Ferdinando Tacca between 1626 and 1642, portray the Grand Dukes Ferdinando I and Cosimo III. Below, sixteen coats of arms of Tuscan towns, made of semi-precious stones, mother of pearl, lapis-lazuli and coral.
Michelangelo, Lorenzo Duke of Urbino and Giuliano, Duke of Nemours
Michelangelo, tombs of the two dukes with symbolical figures: Day and Night, Dawn and Dusk.
Michelangelo, Madonna and Child, on the tomb of Lorenzo the Magnificent and his
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