Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



The Old Sacristy of San Lorenzo in Florence, Italy, was constructed during the years 1419-1428 and is considered one of the most influential buildings of the early Italian Renaissance. Brunelleschi's Old Sacristy, in its original design, was pristine and void of the architectural ornamentation that had come to characterize so many buildings that preceded it and which would come to be associated with the sacristy itself on account of later alterations. Indeed, the original sacristy was characterized by a purely articulated space free of additional ornamentation to the architecture. However, shortly after the termination of construction, the Old Sacristy became a battleground for new and evolving notions concerning the ornamentation of sacred spaces. A veritable who's who of early Quattrocento Florence including the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, the sculptor Donatello, and the wealthy and increasingly powerful Medici family took a stand. Although, the initial lack of ornamentation has been researched, scholarship thus far neglected to fully explain the decision to profoundly alter the ornamentation of the original space. This thesis interprets and evaluates the research that has been done on the Old Sacristy and, in turn, offers an explanation for the current arrangement of architectural ornamentation in light of both aesthetic considerations and patronage.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Camerlenghi, Nicola