Commissioned by Pope Leo X, Michelangelo worked on the New Sacristry from 1519 to 1534. He faced the challenge of having four tombs to build and only two available walls (with a square plan, one wall for an entrance and one for an altar). Michelangelo took advantage of this situation, he devised an elaborate yet clearly articulated Mannerist environment.
-side bays with blank niches and large segmented pediments
-closely framed recessed statue with paired columns, but no pediment
-blind tabernacles over doors, the pediments here are uncomfortably oversized dynamically oppressing the pilasters
Michelangelo had reinterpreted the elements of Classical architecture, eschewing order and rule. He created a plastic environment of original ideas, merging sculpture and architecture to present a strong example of Mannerism.
A closer look at the tombs, which feature:
-tension between projecting and recessing elements
-white marble, intensifying the contrast between pietra serena and stucco
-semi circular pediment