Michelangelo's basilica may finally be completed
Wednesday 27 July 2011
The mayor of Florence wants a referendum to decide if the city should embark on a major work by Michelangelo that was shelved because of the huge cost nearly 500 years ago.
Michelangelo produced sketches and models in 1515 for a white marble façade complete with columns and statues for the city's mighty San Lorenzo Basilica.
The church's central structure was designed by the seminal Renaissance figure Filippo Brunelleschi between 1419 and 1446. Pope Leo X asked Michelangelo to complete the building in magnificent style – only to balk at the plan when he realised how much it would drain the papal coffers to buy and carry hundreds of tons of white marble from Carrara near the north Tuscan coast.
And so the façade of the church, containing the chapel of the Medici family, has remained unfinished. But Florence's Mayor Matteo Renzi said this week that it would be a fitting tribute to Michelangelo to enact his vision for the church by 2015. The notion of recreating or even second-guessing the vision of the great artist and architect has sparked a fierce debate among Italy's cultural élite.
"It would be wonderful to complete the exact work 500 years on," Mr Renzi told a council meeting. Paolo Portoghesi, Professor of architecture at La Sapienza University, hailed Mr Renzi's "heroic idea". But Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican museums, dismissed the Mayor's plans. "To start working on the basilica after 500 years is too late and makes no sense because it will involve construction techniques, styles and sensibilities out of synch with the existing building," he told La Repubblica newspaper. "They should leave the basilica and Michelangelo in peace."
Mr Renzi said that the final decision would rest with the local people. "It should be for the people of Florence to vote on the matter," he said.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 iPhone 6 review: bigger, thinner, faster, brighter - Apple proves you can make the best better
- 2 Sports Direct security guard allegedly banned Jewish schoolboys and told them: 'No Jews, no Jews'
- 3 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 4 Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 5 Kanye West halts concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Emma Thompson admits being frightened ahead of Sweeney Todd West End appearance
Robin Thicke admits he did not write 'Blurred Lines'
Star Trek 3 to begin shooting in next six months
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'