Firenze Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana1


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The Basilica di San Lorenzo (Basilica of St Lawrence) is one of the largest churches of Florence, part of a larger monastic complex that contains other important architectural works: the Old Sacristy by Brunelleschi; the Laurentian Library by Michelangelo; the New Sacristy based on Michelangelos designs; and the Medici Chapels by Matteo Nigetti. The Laurentian Library (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana) is a historical library containing a repository of more than 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 early printed books. Built in the cloister of the Medicean Basilica di San Lorenzo under the patronage of the Medici pope, Clement VII, the Library was built to emphasize that the Medici family were no longer mere merchants but members of intelligent and ecclesiastical society. It contains the manuscripts and books belonging to the private library of the Medici family.

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Firenze Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana1

  1. 1.
  2. 2. The Basilica di San Lorenzo is one of thelargest churches of Florence, Italy,situated at the centre of the city’s mainmarket district, and the burial place of allthe principal members of the Medicifamily from Cosimo il Vecchio to CosimoIII. The church is part of a larger monasticcomplex that contains other importantarchitectural works: the Old Sacristy byBrunelleschi; the Laurentian Library byMichelangelo; the New Sacristy based onMichelangelos designs; and the MediciChapels by Matteo Nigetti.
  3. 3. From the cloister you can reach the Medici library, also known as theBibliotheca Laurenziana or Laurentian LibraryIn 1523 Giulio di Giuliano de Medici, the later pope Clement VII,commissioned Michelangelo with the design of the library. Constructionstarted in 1525 but Michelangelo left Florence in 1534 and the librarywas completed by several architects who followed Michelangelosdesign. One of the most original designs, a large staircase in thevestibule, was built by Ammannati in 1559. The reading room containstwo sections of benches, also designed by Michelangelo.The library owns an impressive selection of historic manuscripts andbooks originally collected by Cosimo the Elder and later expanded byother members of the Medici family. The collection includes invaluableitems such as the 8th century Codex Amiatinus (a bible) and the oldestversion of the Naturalis Historia, a Roman encyclopedia. In 1571,Cosimo I de Medici opened the library to the public.
  4. 4. The staircase leads up to the reading room and takes up half of thefloor of the vestibule. The treads of the center flights are convex andvary in width, while the outer flights are straight.
  5. 5. The three lowest steps of the central flight are wider and higher than the others, almost likeconcentric oval slabs. As the stairway descends, it divides into three flights
  6. 6. StaircaseintheVestibule
  7. 7. The vestibule, also knownas the ricetto, is 19.50 mlong, 20.30 m wide, and14.6 m tall
  8. 8. The vestibule was built aboveexisting monastic quarters onthe east range of the cloister,with an entrance from theupper level of the cloisters.Originally, Michelangelo hadplanned for a skylight, but theClement VII believed that itwould cause the roof to leak,so clerestory windows wereincorporated into the westwall.
  9. 9. Blank taperingwindows––framed in pietraserena,surmounted byeither triangularor segmentalpediments, andseparated bypaired columnsset into thewall––circumscribethe interior ofthe vestibule
  10. 10. Thesplendidstained-glasswindowsintheVestibule
  11. 11. The Laurentian Library (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana) is ahistorical library containing a repository of more than 11,000manuscripts and 4,500 early printed books. Built in the cloister ofthe Medicean Basilica di San Lorenzo under the patronage of theMedici pope, Clement VII, the Library was built to emphasize thatthe Medici family were no longer mere merchants but members ofintelligent and ecclesiastical society. It contains the manuscriptsand books belonging to the private library of the Medici family.
  12. 12. Biblioteca Laurenziana is the library whose core collection comprised the manuscriptscollected by Cosimo the Elder (1389-1464) with the help of some of the most famoushumanists of the time. This collection grew considerably under Lorenzo the Magnificent(1449-1492) and was opened to the public, according to the statesmans wishes, by hisnephew, Giulio (1478-1534) who ascended the papal throne as Clement VII (1523).
  13. 13. Biblioteca Medicea Laurenzianaview from Il chiostro
  14. 14. The Reading Room,which unlike theVestibule developshorizontally, hosts twoseries of woodenbenches, the so-calledplutei, which functionedas lecterns as well asbook-shelves.They were designed byMichelangelo and,according to GiorgioVasari, work of GiovanBattista del Cinque andCiapino. The collectiononce kept here is uniquefor its philological andartistic value. Themanuscripts and printedbooks lied horizontallyon the lecterns and onthe shelves and weredistributed by subject(Patristics, Astronomy,Rhetoric, History,Poetry, Philosophy,Geography Grammar,);
  15. 15. the wooden panels placed onone side of each bench listedthe titles of the items chainedtherein. This display wasmaintained until the beginningof the 20th century, when themanuscripts (the printedbooks were given to theMagliabechiana Library, nowBiblioteca Nazionale Centraledi Firenze in 1783) weretransferred downstairs, in thevaults were they are stillhoused.
  16. 16. The floor, in red and white terracotta was realised from 1548 by Santi Buglioni accordingto a design by Tribolo. Its centre echoes the ornamental and symbolic designs found inthe ceiling, which allude to the Medici dynasty.
  17. 17. Alwaysaccording toVasari, thelinden ceilingwas carved in1549-1550 byGiovan Battistadel Tasso andAntonio diMarco di Giano(also known asIl Carota),following earlierdrawings byMichelangelo.
  18. 18. The Reading Room
  19. 19. The splendid stained-glass windows,which were the last part of the Libraryto be accomplished, display anornamental array of Medici heraldryreferring to Clement VII ( 1478-1534)and Cosimo I (1519-1574). Possiblyrealised by a Flemish workshop inkeeping with Giorgio Vasarisdrawings, the refined decorationscombine grotesque motifs, arms andemblems.
  20. 20. The Rotunda was added to the original library planned by Michelangeloin the first half of the 19th century in order to house the rich bookcollection, once belonging to the Florentine bibliophile and scholarAngelo Maria DElci (Florence 1754 - Vienna 1824), to the Laurenziana in1818. The Rotunda was inaugurated in 1841 and has been the LibrarysReading Room until the 1970s. Nowadays the DElci collection is keptelsewhere - in conditions more suitable for conservation purposes - andthe room is employed for seminars, meetings and inaugurations.
  21. 21. Sound: Andrea Bocelli - Canto Della TerraText: InternetPictures: InternetDaniela IacobAndrei TischlerCopyright: All the images belong to their authorsPresentation: Sanda Foi oreanuş