Hilde Lotz-Bauer


The allegory of the night by Michelangelo (1475-1564) occupies a special place in the interior of the New Sacristy in S. Lorenzo. The allegory is located by the sarcophagus of Prince Giuliano de’ Medici (around 1526). In his studies, Kriegbaum compared this figure to Michelangelo’s painting of Leda and the Swan, except that she is now sleeping surrounded by emblems: Half-moon and star on her head, poppy fruits in the garland, an owl and a mask. Only the detailed photographs by Hilde Lotz-Bauer made Kriegbaum’s analytic comparison of styles possible. The Madonna (1521) stands in front of the altar of the new sacristy between the saints Cosmas and Damian. In this case as well, Lotz-Bauer photographed only sections which reflect the head in its flawless classical beauty in profile and in almost front-on perspectives. In the turning of the child, Kriegbaum saw something typical for this genre, while the Madonna shows hardly any reference to her function as a mother. Started before 1550 in Rome, the pieta with the Virgin Mary and Christ supported by Nicodemus and a kneeling Mary Magdalene is one of Michelangelo’s unfinished works. Dissatisfied with the material, he chiselled only the rough outline of this marble piece. Clearly recognisable are a later reworking of Mary Magdalene and additions to Christ by his student, Tiberio Calcagni. Michelangelo had designed this pieta for his own grave. Nicodemus’ head, which Kriegbaum called a “mental self-portrayal,” was frequently interpreted as a self-portrait.

The head of the allegory of Night

The tawny owl of the allegory of Night

The mask at the allegory of Night

Madonna and child from San Lorenzo

Profile of the Madonna

Three-quarter view of the Madonna

The Christ Child

Pietà in the Opera del Duomo

Nicodemus (part of the Pietà)


Profile of the Madonna

© KHI in Florence | 08.08.2020 11:05:13