MICHELANGELO BUONARROTI: NIGHT, A SCULPTURE FROM THE TOMB OF GIULIANO DE’ MEDICI
The plaster cast of the figure of the Night made for the tomb of Giuliano de’Medici by Michelangelo.
Between 1519 and 1534 Michelangelo worked intermittently on the Medici tombs in the New Sacristy of the San Lorenzo church in Florence. In the end, the Medici chapel remained unfinished, and the tombs of just two lesser-known family members, Giuliano de’ Medici, Duke of Nemours, and Lorenzo de’ Medici, Duke of Urbino, were completed. On the two memorials that face each other in the chapel, there lie four allegorical figures, including Night. Although these figures were inspired by the sculpture of classical antiquity, they exhibit important differences from contemporary sculpture. For some centuries they exerted considerable influence on artists. The other statues in the chapel, which portray Madonna, Saint Cosmas, and Saint Damian, were made for a tomb that was never realized but which would have commemorated two prominent fifteenth-century members of the family, namely Lorenzo il Magnifico, and his younger brother Giuliano, who was murdered in the Pazzi conspiracy.