Laurentian Library. Michaelangelo

The Library is a perfect demonstration of Mannerism in Michelangelo’s architectural designs.

The Laurentian Library is a historical library designed and constructed by Michelangelo in 1525. The construction began in Florence, Italy, at the cloister of the Medicean Basilica di San Lorenzo di Firenze. 

The construction of the library was sponsored by the Medici Pope, Clement VII, as a way to emphasize to the public that the Medici family belonged to an intellectual and ecclesiastical society. The library holds 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 early printed books.

The library is considered one of the most important works of Michelangelo, and a perfect demonstration of Mannerism in Michelangelo’s design.
The vestibule is 64 ft. x 67 ft. x 48 ft., with incorporated clerestories on the west wall, which were added after Clement VII rejected Michelangelo’s skylight idea. Inside the vestibule, there are Pietra Serena framed tampering windows mounted on three-sided segmental pediments separated by constrained columns and a dramatic stair that leads you to the reading room. 

The design of the stairs changed dramatically under the command of Ammannati. Originally, the stairs were fixed against the wall, but a year later, the stairs were moved to the middle of the vestibule taking at least half of the room. The central flights are convex and vary in width as they descend. To each side of the central treads, a set of straight flights divide the stair into three segments, leading you to the reading room.

The reading room is divided into three sections – a row of reading seats on each side of the room and a defined central aisle for circulation. The seats were specifically side placed to receive maximum light from the adjacent windows. The windows are mounted over pilasters, establishing an organization of bays that defines the room ceiling and floor. Undoubtedly, a sense of boldness and refinement can be identified. 

Even though the Laurentian Library was designed by Michelangelo, only the walls of the reading room were totally completed under his command. The completion of the project was done by Tribolo, Basari, and Ammannati. 
Everyday 9:00am – 1:00pm.
Texts, photographs and diagrams by Michelle Chedraui.