Casa Buonarroti

FLORENCE

A museum and a monument, a place of memory and a celebration of the genius of Michelangelo, set in a magnificent baroque setting where the family’s rich art collections are exhibited, the Casa Buonarroti is one of the most unique Florentine museums to visit.

To begin with, it provides the thrill of admiring two famous marble reliefs, masterpieces from Michelangelo’s early years, the “Madonna of the Stairs”, evidence of his intense passionate study of Donatello, and the “Battle of the Centaurs,” an eloquent sign of his never-fading love for classical art.

Yet no less significant for those walking through the main door of the 17th-century palace at Via Ghibellina, 70, in Florence, is the connection of Michelangelo’s works to the Buonarroti family’s centuries-old history, endeavored to expand the dwelling, to embellish it, to preserve there a valuable cultural heritage (including the major Archives and the Library), by assembling rare collections of art: paintings, sculptures, ceramics, archaeological finds that are now arranged over the museum’s two floors.

A specially equipped room displays, on a rotating basis, selected small groups from the Collection of autographic drawings by Michelangelo which belong to the museum and consists of two hundred priceless sheets. The meaning of the Casa Buonarroti is not limited, however, to a celebration of such an exceptional figure as that of Michelangelo, although this museum has and exhibits works and documents about him that have been enriched by donations to the family’s patrimony and by pieces on loan from Florentine museums.

These include two famous works by Michelangelo: the wooden model for the façade of San Lorenzo and the magnificent River God, preparatory to a statue for the New Sacristy that was never carried out. There are the two 16th-century Noli Me Tangere, derived from a now-lost cartoon by the artist.

The idea of creating a grand building to the glory of the family and especially of the great forefather goes back to Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger, a great man of letters and patron of culture who, beginning in 1612, for about thirty years, employed the leading artists working at that time in Florence, including Empoli, Passignano, Artemisia Gentileschi, Pietro da Cortona, Giovanni da San Giovanni, Francesco Furini, and the young Jacopo Vignali, to carry out work inside the palace, and especially in the “Gallery” and the three rooms nearby.

In these sumptuous rooms, Michelangelo the Younger placed the most valuable pieces of his collection, many of which are still part of the museum. Included among them, the wooden predella with Scenes from the Life of Saint Nicholas of Bari, a masterpiece by Giovanni di Francesco, a follower of Domenico Veneziano.

Let us not forget the museum’s annual exhibitions on topics related to the Casa Buonarroti’s cultural and artistic patrimony and to its memories, as well as to Michelangelo and his times: exhibitions that, for many years, have achieved international fame for the authority and originality of the issues addressed.

Short Bibliography

Una facciata ottocentesca per la Casa Buonarroti. AA.VV., Firenze, Editore: Mandragora, 2002.

Casa Buonarroti. La collezione archeologica. Corsi S. (a cura di), Milano, Editore: Electa, 1997.

Michelangelo nell’Ottocento. Rodin e Michelangelo. Lamberti M., Riopelle C. (a cura di), Milano, Editore: Charta, 1996, note: in catalogo della mostra Casa Buonarroti.

Arte e storia in biblioteca. Corsi S., Lombardi E. (a cura di), Milano, Editore: Charta, 1995, note: in catalogo della mostra Casa Buonarroti.

Casa Buonarroti. Ragionieri G. (a cura di), Firenze, Editore: Editrice SPES, 1987.

Michelangelo e l’arte classica. Agosti G., Farinella V. (a cura di), Firenze, Editore: Cantini, 19987, note: in catalogo della mostra Casa Buonarroti.

Filippo Buonarroti e la cultura antiquaria sotto gli ultimi Medici. Gallo D. (a cura di), Firenze, Editore: Cantini, 1986, note: in catalogo della mostra Casa Buonarroti.

Michelangelo e i maestri del Quattrocento. Sisi C. (a cura di), Firenze, Editore: Cantini, 1985, note: in catalogo della mostra Casa Buonarroti.

Disegni di fortificazioni da Leonardo a Michelangelo. Marani P. (a cura di), Firenze, Editore: Cantini, 1984, note: in catalogo della mostra Casa Buonarroti.

Casa Buonarroti. Squellati Brizio P., Firenze, Editore: Sansoni, 1982, note: in catalogo della mostra La Città degli Uffizi.

La Galleria Buonarroti, Michelangelo e Michelangelo Buonarroti il Giovane. Vliegenthart A.W., Bologna, Editore: Labanti e Nanni, 1977.

Casa Buonarroti. de Tolnay C., Firenze, Editore: Arnaud, 1970.

La Casa Buonarroti a Firenze. Procacci U., Firenze, Editore: Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, 1965.

Itinerario della Casa Buonarroti e delle sue collezioni. Berti L., Firenze, Editore: non disponibile, 1951.

Michelangelo. Studi di antichità dal Codice Coner. Agosti G., Farinella V. (a cura di), Torino, Editore: Utet, 1987.

Guida della Galleria Buonarroti. Fabbrichesi A., Firenze, Editore: non disponibile, 1865.

Michelangelo nell’Ottocento. Il centenario del 1875
Corsi S. (a cura di), Milano, Editore: Charta, 1994, note: in catalogo della mostra Casa Buonarroti.

Casa Buonarroti. I disegni di Michelangelo. Direzione della Casa Buonarroti (a cura della), MIlano-Firenze, Editore: Charta, 1993.

7-inclinazione

The Inclination – Gallery

Date: 1615-1616
Technique and Materials: painting on canvas
Size: 152 cm. x 61 cm.
Artist: Artemisia Gentileschi (Rome 1597- Naples 1652)

The painting is part of the allegories, in the ceiling of the Casa Buonarroti gallery, that represent some episodes from Michelangelo’s life. The female figure, who has recently earned the well-suited definition of a “luminous and carnal nude” (Cropper), is holding a compass, while a shining star in the blue sky seems to be her guide.

5-cortile

Casa Buonarroti – Courtyard

Filippo Buonarroti recalled in 1726 that his “ancestors” had embedded in the walls of the Casa Buonarroti courtyard an Etruscan stele, found near Fiesole. It was returned to Florence’s Archaeological Museum in 1965.

8-leoneX

Michelangelo Presents to Pope Leo X and Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici Models of the Façade of San Lorenzo and the Medici Chapel – Gallery

Date: 1617-1619
Technique and Materials: painting on canvas
Size: 2.36 m. x 1.41m.
Artist: Jacopo Chimenti da Empoli, known asEmpoli (Empoli 1551-1640)

The painting is among the allegorical frescoes dedicated to Michelangelo Buonarroti’s life in the Casa Buonarroti gallery, where prominent episodes from Michelangelo’s life are illustrated. In particular, the painting depicts the moment in which the artist is presenting to Pope Leo X and Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici the proposed models for the façade of San Lorenzo and of the Medici Chapel.

2-busto

Bust of Michelangelo

Date: 1564-1566 (head), 1570 circa (chest)
Technique and Materials: bronze
Size: 59 cm. (30 cm. head, 29 cm. chest)
Artist: Daniele Ricciarelli, known as Daniele da Volterra (Volterra, 1509 – Rome, 1566), Jean de Boulogne known as Giambologna (Douai, 1529 – Florence, 1608)

Upon Michelangelo’s death, Daniele da Volterra created a portrait from the artist’s death mask, with whom he had shared an intense friendship. When Daniele died, six bronze heads of Michelangelo were found in his shop. One of them came to Florence, and was provided with a rich drapery, designed by Giambologna. The Casa Buonarroti bronze is considered one of the most important examples of the most famous sculptural portrait of Michelangelo.

18-ritratto

Portrait of Michelangelo

Date: 1522
Technique and Materials: painting on canvas
Size: 55.5 cm. x 43.5 cm
Artist: Giuliano Bugiardini (Florence 1475-1554)

This portrait of Michelangelo is located in the Camera della Notte e del Dì. This painting is usually identified with Michelangelo’s portrait by Bugiardini of which Vasari spoke at length.

13-dio-fluviale

River God – Works from the gallery

Date: ca. 1524-1527
Technique and Materials: unfired clay, river sand, animal hair, vegetable fiber, wood, iron wire, and wire mesh
Size: cm. 65 x 40 cm. x 70 cm.
Artist: Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, known as Michelangelo (1475 – Rome, 1564)

This piece is a preparatory model for a sculpture that Michelangelo had planned to put on the floor of the New Sacristy. The work, of which the piece of Casa Buonarroti is the model, should have been placed at the foot of Lorenzo de’ Medici’s tomb. Tolnay has discovered a copy of the sketch in a 16th-century drawing in the Uffizi and has hypothesized that it is a river god.

11-incisione

Casa Buonarroti in an 1862 engraving

Technique and Materials: engraving

4-notte e dì

Camera della Notte e del Dì (“Chamber of Night and Day “)

Date: ca. 1620-1640

By the hand of Michelangelo the Younger, In Manuscript 97 is the layout for the frescoes on the walls with an indication of the episodes and characters related to the family Buonarroti who were to be depicted. Among others Jacopo Vignali painted a fresco on the ceiling, of the Eternal Father separating light from darkness, and the personifications of Night and Day, which gives this “chamber” its name.

1-scrittoio

“Writing desk” by Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger

Date: 1633-1637

Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger was a great and remarkable man of letters and a lover of culture.

9-paoloIV

Michelangelo Presenting Pope Paul IV the Model for the Completion of St. Peter’s – Gallery

Date: 1618-1619
Technique and Materials: painting on canvas
Size: 2.36 m. x 1.41 m.
Artist: Domenico Cresti da Passignano (Tavarnelle Val di Pesa 1559-1638)

The painting is one of the allegorical frescoes dedicated to Michelangelo Buonarroti’s life in the Casa Buonarroti gallery, in which important episodes from Michelangelo’s life are shown. In particular, the painting depicts the moment in which the artist presents Pope Paul IV a model for the completion of St. Peter’s. According to Baldinucci the two characters portrayed behind Michelangelo are Luca degli Albizi and Giovanni Altoviti

14-madonna-scala

Madonna of the Stairs – Works from the gallery

Date: ca. 1490
Technique and Materials: marble
Size: 56.7 cm. x 40.1 cm.
Artist: Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese Michelangelo 1475-Rome 1564)

It is the oldest sculpture by Michelangelo that has been preserved. It was carried out at the age of fifteen when he lived near Lorenzo the Magnificent, at Bertoldo’s school in San Marco’s Medici garden. The female figure occupies the entire height of the relief, from edge to edge. The meaning remains ambiguous of both the stairs that give the relief its name and of the children, the two who appear to be dancing and the other two who seem to be stretching a drape behind the Madonna.

16-nolimetangere

Noli me tangere – Works from the gallery

Date: ca. 1532
Technique and Materials: painting on a wooden panel
Size: 172 cm. x 134 cm.
Artist: Copy by Jacopo Carucci, known as Pontormo (Pontorme di Empoli 1494-1556)

The work comes from a lost cartoon by Michelangelo, depicting Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene in the garden. The cartoon was made immediately into a painting by Pontormo, at the suggestion of Michelangelo himself who followed closely the work as it took place in his own home.

19-ritratto-giovane

Portrait of Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger

Date: 1630
Technique and Materials: marble
Size: height 87 cm.
Artist: Giuliano Finelli (1601 – 1653)

Between 1629 and 1630, Michelangelo the Younger was a guest in Rome of the Barberini family. There, he was able to appreciate the portraiture skill of Giuliano Finelli to whom he commissioned this portrait, which was executed in Rome.
Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger conceived the idea of creating a magnificent building, decorated by renowned artists, for the glory of his family and especially his great grandfather, an idea which he himself brought to completion.

3-angioli

Camera degli Angioli (“Room of Angels”)

Date: ca. 1620-1630

This room was used as a chapel beginning in 1677. The frescoes by Jacopo Vignali and Michelangelo Cinganelli were dedicated to the representations of saints and blessed Florentines to glorify the city’s religious spirit. Michelangelo the Younger’s notes regarding the room’s decoration are preserved in Manuscript 97.

10-galleria

Casa Buonarroti Gallery

Date: 1613-1640

The overall decorative scheme of this room was worked out by Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger. The common thread is the praise of Michelangelo, an extraordinary biography told through the images created by the most important artists then active in Florence, including Empoli, Passignano, Artemisia Gentileschi, Giovanni da San Giovanni, Matteo Rosselli, and Francesco Furini.

6-madonna-bambino

Madonna and Child – Drawings

Date: ca. 1525
Technique and Materials: black pencil, red pencil, white lead and ink
Size: 54.1 cm. x 39.6 cm.
Artist: Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese Michelangelo 1475-Rome 1564)

In this famous and beautiful drawing, the desired plasticity of the child’s body contrasts with the vibrant chiaroscuro hatching of the Madonna’s head and of the rest of the composition. The mother’s image has a posture and an expression that are completely detached from the baby at her breast, and a look that is lost in the vision of future tragedies.

12-centauri

Battle of the Centaurs – Works from the gallery

Date: 1490-1492
Technique and Materials: marble
Size: 84.5 cm. x 90.5 cm.
Artist: Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese Michelangelo1475-Rome 1564)

One of Michelangelo’s greatest masterpieces, he carried it out when he was only sixteen or seventeen years old, “… Upon Poliziano’s advice, the famous man of letters, Michelangelo did a fight between Hercules and the Centaurs on a piece of marble…” (Vasari).

15-facciata-salorenzo

Model for the façade of San Lorenzo – Works from the gallery

Date: ca. 1518
Technique and Materials: wood
Size: 216 cm. x 283 cm. x 50 cm.
Artist: based on a design by Michelangelo

Michelangelo had obtained from Leo X the commission to design the facade of the Church of S. Lorenzo. He hid the church’s external structure behind the lay scenario of a splendid private palace.
Tolnay maintains that this was the second model carried out by Michelangelo with Pietro Urbano which was originally equipped with wax figures.

20-lottatori

Two Wrestlers – Works from the gallery

Date: ca. 1530
Technique and Materials: light-coloured terracotta
Size: height 41 cm.
Artist: Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese Michelangelo 1475-Rome 1564)

The model, whose attribution to Michelangelo is now accepted by most scholars, has been linked to both the Victory statue in Palazzo Vecchio and the large statue of Hercules and Cacus.

17-nicola-bari

Scenes from the Life of Saint Nicholas of Bari: Saint Nicholas Gives a Dowry to Three Poor Girls – Works from the gallery

Date: ca. 1457
Technique and Materials: painting on a wooden panel
Size : wooden panel, 23 cm. x 158 cm.
Artist: Giovanni di Francesco (Florence 1412-1459)
Provenance: Church of Santa Croce in Florence, Cavalcanti Chapel

The image is part of a single predella portraying three different stories from the life of Saint Nicholas of Bari. 16th-century sources document that this painting was originally placed as a predella below the Annunciation by Donatello, in the Cavalcanti Chapel in the Church of Santa Croce in Florence. Indeed, it fits perfectly between the two brackets that hold the sculpture at the base.

Address

Fondazione Casa Buonarroti, Florence
Via Ghibellina, 70
Florence
Phone: 055 241752
Fax: 055 241698
Website | E-mail

How to get there:
By car: When you arrive in Florence follow the signs to Viali di Circonvallazione, the boulevards, then to Piazza Beccaria (district of Santa Croce).

Services

library
bookshop
guided tours

Opening hours

Museum opening hours: from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed on Tuesdays and the following holidays:
1 January, Easter Sunday, August 15, December 25

Tickets

Full price: € 6.50
Reduced price: € 4.50

Casa Buonarroti and Santa Croce monumental complex combined ticket: € 8.50

Useful links

Laurentian Library:
The Michelangelo project is divided into two areas: the vestibule and reading room, conceived as independently configured spaces and places in succession. The monumental staircase was carried out by Ammannati.

Medici Chapels, San Lorenzo Religious complex

Museo Uffizi Gallery Museum

Museo
Accademia Gallery Museum
, Florence