Salone dei Cinquecento, Florence
Located on the first floor of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’shistorical political seat, the Salone dei Cinquecento was commissioned in 1494 by Fra Girolamo Savonarola who briefly replaced the Medici after their exile as the spiritual leader of the Republic. The chamber was initially designed to seat the 1,000 citizens who were members of the Grand Council of the Republic who gathered in two groupings of 500, thus giving the Salone its name.
After the death of Duke Alessandro de’ Medici in 1537, Cosimo I de’ Medici came to power and chose Palazzo Vecchio as his residence. He commissioned Giorgio Vasari to radically transform and enlarge the austere Salone to reflect the glory of Florence and in particular, the triumph of Cosimo I.
Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were originally commissioned to decorate the Salone with frescoes depicting two victorious Florentine battles: the battle of Anghiari and the battle of Cascina. The new experimental technique used by da Vinci was unsuccessful and he abandoned the project. Michelangelo completed his preliminary drawings, but was called to Rome by Pope Julius II and never completed the
Giorgio Vasari was later chosen to decorate the Salone with scenes that depict the military success, wealth, and the power of Duke Cosimo I. Other works in the room include statues of members of the Medici family and the two Medici Popes, Leo X and Clement VII. Marble sculptures adorn the side walls, including a spectacular sculpture The Genius of Victory by Michelangelo.