When Michelangelo died in Rome at the venerable age of 88, the first priority of the Buonarroti and Medici families in Florence was to bring his body back in order to honor one of the greatest artists of all time. To this day, his magnificent sculpted and painted tomb in Santa Croce is a destination for art lovers from around the world seeking knowledge and some contact with the master.
The impressive tomb of Michelangelo is a multi-media project that extends to the family altar next to it. After the artist’s death in 1564, Duke Cosimo de’ Medici commissioned Giorgio Vasari to coordinate and create the memorial, which was finished in 1578. Alongside the artist, 66 members of the Buonarroti family are buried here. The tomb itself is an elaborate combination of marble sculpture and fresco painting, with a bust of Michelangelo and three figures representing the arts in which Michelangelo excelled: painting, sculpture and architecture.
Vasari’s altarpiece represents Christ Meeting Veronica on the Way to Calvary, in which there is a newly-discovered portrait of Michelangelo who pointingly looks towards his own tomb, affirming that the altar and tomb are meant to be read together. This image of Michelangelo, and indeed most of the figures in this painting, is hidden beneath centuries of grime and yellowed varnish that obscure Vasari’s once-colorful, drama-filled painting. The work’s surface was further damaged in the devastating 1966 Florence Flood, leaving cracks and bubbling in the paint. Now its structure is at risk due to an invasion of termites in the wooden support. This restoration has been long called for and has become urgent.
OSC will call upon expert restorers to start cleaning and consolidation as early as November 1, 2017. A clean altarpiece will give this work a renewed legibility that will allow it to be studied as well as admired by all. But first, funding for this task must be secured.
In addition to the painting, which has received too little attention over the years, the famous marble tomb also requires attention. The last time it was cleaned was over 20 years ago. At this time, it requires preventative cleaning and diagnostics intended to delay the need for more extensive interventions in the future. We require €100,000 ($119,000) to carry out this restoration. The hope is to collect these funds by October 20, 2017. Work is to start immediately and should be finished by March, 2018, in time for the anniversary of Michelangelo’s birth.
All contributors will receive the following benefits:
Circle-level donations are named after extraordinary individuals who constitute the legacy of the Santa Croce Monumental Complex.
Circle level donors will:
In addition to above listed benefits Giotto and Michelangelo Circle donors will:
Michelangelo Circle donors, all the above, plus:
Scottsdale, Arizona USA
“Because we always loved Florence and always stayed on the Piazza Santa Croce during our visits to the city.”
New York City, USA
"It is my privilege to support the restoration of Michelangelo's memorial. I have always felt a debt of gratitude to him for the beauty that he created in his sculpture, art and architecture."
Scottsdale, Arizona USA
“This restoration seems a worthy and important project, given the tragic history of the flooding of buildings and monuments throughout the centuries. Haig and I will look forward to returning to Santa Croce next spring to celebrate the completion of the tomb.”
Opera di Santa Croce has partnered with King Baudouin Foundation USA, named after the late king of Belgium and established in Brussels in 1976.
This Foundation makes it possible for Europe-based entities like OSC to offer 100% tax-deductible giving for US taxpayers.
For gifts by check in the USA: Write your check to KBFUS, write "American Fund for Opera di Santa Croce - In the Name of Michelangelo" in the memo section of the check, and send it to KBFUS, 10 Rockefeller Plaza, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10020.
Please write to email@example.com for more information on how to give.