The Museo delle Cappelle Medicee is planning to celebrate the figure of Pope
Leo X, the first Medici pope, five hundred years after his election to the Holy
Taking a Florentine's eye view, the exhibition tracks the life of Giovanni, Lorenzo
the Magnificent's second son, from his birth in Florence in 1475 up to 9 March
1513 when he was elected to the papacy, and to his brief return home in 1515.
The first sections of the exhibition are devoted to the future pope's education
The second section of the exhibition retraces these events through Florence's
artistic production, setting it against the life of the young cardinal and highlighting
his interests and pursuits which were to come to fruition when he was elected
to the papacy. He took the name of Leo not only to commemorate some of his more
eminent predecessors but also to evoke the lion (Marzocco) that was the symbol
The third section is devoted to Leo X's papacy and to the impact that that papacy
had on the city. His years on the papal throne were hailed as a new "golden age"
in which the capital of Christendom was given a new lease of life thanks to the
work not only of artists but also of the poets and Humanists who revived the tenets
of the Classical world.
The last section of the exhibition illustrates the attention that the Medici
popes, Leo X and later Clemente VII, devoted to the execution of the architectural
projects which their family commissioned in Florence, reviewing the history of
the San Lorenzo complex from Michelangelo's design for the façade of the basilica
(which was never actually built) to his project for the Sagrestia Nuova, on which
he worked on and off and which he left unfinished when he finally departed for
Rome in 1534. Visitors will also be able to admire, for the very first time, the
splendid polyhedric shape which Michelangelo chose for the crown of the lantern
in the Sagrestia Nuova.