Casa Buonarroti

Pina Ragionieri
November 30, 2006

Via Ghibellina, 709:30 - 2:00, except Tuesday Entry fee: 6.50 euroTel: 055 241 752Visiting the Casa Buonarroti museum arouses, first and foremost, a sense of admiration for several early works by Michelangelo contained within its walls, such as the Madonna of the Stairs and the Battle of the Centaurs. But for those who step through the main entrance of this lovely 17th-century building (located at Via Ghibellina 70), it is even more interesting to relate the Michelangelo masterpieces housed there to the Buonarroti family’s long history. The family did all it could to enlarge the dwelling and make it more attractive, while preserving its important cultural heritage and maintaining a precious art collection at the same time.Not only do the well-known masterworks by Michelangelo kept in the Casa Buonarroti come from the family’s patrimony; the same is also true of the other paintings, sculptures, majolicas and archaeological sections showcased on the museum’s two floors. Thus, the significance of the Casa Buonarroti does not limit itself to the exaltation of an extraordinary personality such as Michelangelo; the collection has been enriched by gifts added to the family inheritance and by pieces on loan from Florentine museums.

The idea of creating a magnificent building decorated by renowned artists in the name of family, honor, and, above all, respect for its most illustrious ancestor was conceived in 1612 by Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger. A cultural promoter and exceptional man of letters, Buonarroti the Younger achieved his dream within a 30-year time span. The Casa Buonarroti is a model residence for Florence, one that has been able to maintain its true Ren-aissance identity. A symbol of authenticity, it still exudes a secret charm for those who seek the stories captured in the fascinating history of one of Flor-ence’s most renowned families.  Jane’s Suggestions: The house was donated to the city of Florence by Michelangelo’s last descendant in 1858. Don’t miss his Madonna of the Steps (1492) and Battle of the Centaurs and Lapiths. Both are marble relief sculptures, which Michelangelo is said to have carved at the age of 15 and 16. Visitors should also search out the wooden model he designed for the facade of the church of San Lorenzo (still to be executed). Noteworthy as well is Artemisia Gentileschi’s Allegory of Inclination (1615) which can be found on the Galleria’s ceiling. The museum also has over 200 original sheets/drawings by Michelangelo; a small sample collection is displayed in display cases on the second floor. This entire series is rotated throughout the year and makes up the largest collection in the world of the artist’s drawings on paper.

 

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