Casa Buonarroti Museum in Florence

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Casa Buonarroti Museum, to discover the lesser known works of Michelangelo

Casa Buonarroti is a house-museum dedicated to one of the greatest artists of all times: Michelangelo Buonarroti. Located in Via Ghibellina in Florence, this museum is very interesting to discover the drawings, proofs and other works of the great Renaissance master.

The building in which the museum is located is the house in which Michelangelo lived for a certain period and which for several centuries remained the Florentine residence of the Buonarroti family. The museum collects a rich collection of works, models and sketches related to the figure of the great Michelangelo. In addition to the museum, the palace also houses an archive and a library.

The history of Casa Buonarroti

Michelangelo Buonarroti had bought three small plots of land in Florence in 1508 to which a further property was added in 1514. A few years later the property passed to his nephew Leonardo who further enlarged it by unifying the various buildings into a single building.

In 1612 the son of Leonardo, Michelangelo the Younger, started the rebuilding of the palace in the forms that we can still admire today. The project of these works was based on two drawings made by Michelangelo, while a precise decorative program was studied for the interior decoration aimed at celebrating the famous ancestor. Thus, in some rooms of the palace, the greatest artists of the time were called to work, including Artemisia Gentileschi and Pietro da Cortona, to then place the most precious pieces of the collection left by their great-uncle.

In 1858, after ups and downs, which partially reduced the collection, another descendant, Cosimo, decided to donate the palace and the treasures contained within it to the city, also establishing a charity that would take care of the entire collection. This decision actually laid the foundations for the present Museo di Casa Buonarroti.

The museum itself was opened to the public in 1951 after the complete restoration started the previous year by Giovanni Poggi. Subsequently new interventions were carried out in 1964 and after the 1966 flood.

Casa Buonarroti Museum
Casa Buonarroti Museum (Photo by Giovanni Dall’Orto)

Visit to the Casa Buonarroti Museum

The visit to the museum is very interesting and unfolds on two floors and in seventeen exhibition rooms. On the first floor it is possible to admire the archaeological collection of the family which has about 150 finds, while the adjacent rooms collect works by artists inspired by Michelangelo and family collections.

The visit continues on the upper floor, where you can appreciate the collection and preparation work carried out by the grandchildren to enhance Michelangelo’s skills. First of all the models, in wax, terracotta, wood, plaster, for a series of sculptures, some never made.

Among them, the River God (1424) and the Two Wrestlers (1425). Then, the huge collection of drawings, first escaped the artist’s anxiety for perfection, who did not want to show any weaknesses whatsoever and burned them in old age, then the dismemberment carried out by some heirs. The drawings are kept in protected environments and exhibited in rotation.

Michelangelo’s most important works, namely the Madonna della Scala(1491) and the Battle of the Centaurs (1492), hang in the room that bears their name. These are two reliefs sculpted by the artist at a young age, which however already show his remarkable knowledge of anatomy and the ability to represent the dynamism of the subjects.

In the noble environments, the great-grandson Michelangelo Il Giovane had the frescoes painted in the seventeenth century that aim to enhance the life and works of his great-uncle. The biography of him on canvas about him can be admired in the Galleria thanks to the hand of many painters, including the great painter of the Caravaggesque school Artemisia Gentileschi.

The Camera della Notte e del Dì takes its name from the fresco on the ceiling by Jacopo Vignali representing the Lord who separates light from darkness. In addition to numerous paintings, in this room you can see the bronze head of Michelangelo made by Daniele Da Volterra.

The Camera degli Angioli was for a long time a chapel and the frescoes on the walls, the work of Jacopo Vignali, illustrate the saints and blessed of the city of Florence.

In the Studio, Genius and Fame are exalted. Here the paintings by Cecco Bravo, Matteo Rosselli and Domenico Pugliani show the illustrious Tuscans: poets and writers, astronomers, mathematicians, sailors, physicists, doctors, simplists, orators, lawyers, historians, the humanists and finally the philosophers and theologians.

Also worth seeing is the model of the wooden structure that was used to move the David from Piazza della Signoria to the Accademia Museum in 1872 and the large wooden model by Michelangelo for the facade of the church of San Lorenzo.

Information on timetables and tickets for Casa Buonarroti

The Casa Buonarroti museum is located in via Ghibellina 70, at the corner with Via Michelangelo Buonarroti. A little curiosity about Via Buonarroti: once it was called “Via dei Marmi Sudici” (dirty marbles street) because the marbles that the artist used for his works were left here, even for a long time; while waiting the marbles got dirty thus inspiring that particular name.

The museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm. The closing day is Tuesday. It is also closed on January 1st, Easter Sunday, August 15th and December 25th. The ticket has a price of 8 euros, the ricotto costs 5 euros.

For more information and updates on timetables and tickets, I recommend you visit the official website.

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