–Basilica di San Lorenzo facade
–outside the Basilica di San Lorenzo
I recently attended another free art lecture by Dr. Dianne Goode at SMU. For this lecture, Dr. Goode focused on Firenze, or Florence to most English speakers. Dr. Goode spoke about the painting, sculpture, and architecture of this great city. She focused on the time when the Medici family ran the city and papal state, which was during the Quattrocento, or the 14th Century. One of the beautiful churches that Dr. Goode mentioned was one that is not so decorated and noticeable on the outside, but one that is full of so much art and history on the inside.
San Lorenzo was one of my personal highlights when I visited Firenze. If you are walking down the street and happen upon this church, you will probably think that this nondescript church is not very important. If you ever visit Firenze, make a point to dedicate an hour or two to this beautiful building and mausoleum of the Medici family. The church itself was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the architect of the dome of the main cathedral or Duomo of the city.
The outer facade of San Lorenzo was designed by Michelangelo, but was never commissioned. Below is Michelangelo’s wooden model of what the facade was supposed to look like, but with white marble instead of wood. So the outer facade remains plain and rustic, hence the reason many overlook this church.
–Michelangelo’s wooden model of the facade he designed for San Lorenzo
The inside is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. Everything in this church was deliberately designed and scaled by Brunelleschi. One of his trademarks was white marble and grey stone. He also favored Roman arches and columns. When they were younger, Brunelleschi and his good friend Donatello traveled to Rome so that he could study Roman architecture and Donatello could observe the statuary. They never forgot the classicism they found in Rome and they applied this same classicism to their works their entire lives. The Basilica di San Lorenzo also happens to be the burial place of Donatello, besides all of the important Medici.
–beautiful interior of San Lorenzo
–one of the Medici chapels in the basilica
–Donatello’s tomb in the north transept of San Lorenzo
San Lorenzo is just one of many beautiful churches to visit in Firenze, but it one that I would not miss and hope to visit again some day.