The Sagrestia nuovo or new sacristy was designed and executed by Michelangelo between 1520 and 1534. This chapel, proposed by Cardinal Giulio de Medici was intended as a mortuary chapel for the Medici family who ruled Florence off and on for three hundred years. Its form is a cubical space surmounted by a dome that is a scaled down copy of the Pantheon dome. Michelangelo used muted colour and the control of light to set a sombre tone in the chapel. And dominating the space are too memorials dedicated to members of the family.
Michelangelo had intended four memorials but only two were begun and even these were never fully assembled by the master as he had to flee Florence for Rome in 1534. Lorenzo the Magnificent and his brother Giuliano are buried modestly beneath the alter. So the tombs we see today are for the comparatively insignificant Lorenzodi Piero de Medici Duke of Urbino and Giuliano di Lorenzo, Duke of Nemours. Below them Michelangelo created reclining figures representing the four times of day.
The Two tombs, while similar in composition present each figure as representations of the public persona of the deceased. So while Giuliano is posed in an extrovert manner Lorenzo is portrayed deep in thought. The figure, nicknamed il Pensieroso "the thoughtful one" recedes into the shadows. In fact his face is always in shadow. His body is closed, his legs crossed, his mind deep in thought.
Tale from the Rookery are delighted to offer a rare, nineteenth century plaster copy of this enigmatic face.