Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 14, 2014

Michelangelo’s graffiti

Clutching Secret Florence in my hand, I headed to the Piazza Signoria for another find. I have stood in front of David at the Palazzo Vecchio many times, but I have never seen the tiny sketch carved on the wall behind him.

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Stand in front of the statue of Hercules and Cacus.

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Now walk behind the statue, look up.

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That bit isn’t actually relevant, but it is a nice view. Now turn around and at about eye level near the corner of the Palazzo Vecchio is this.

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Michelangelo is said to have carved this  little profile into the building. One version of the story is that Michelangelo sketched a portrait of a prisoner waiting his turn at the gallows, but there are others.

Whatever is the truth, it is incredible that a piece of Michelangelo graffiti exists. Look for it next time you are in the magnificent Piazza Signoria.

 


Responses

  1. That book of yours is a treasure and thanks for sharing. I am blown away.

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    • The book is full of great stuff. I am going to work my way through it…and Secret Venice when I go there in June.

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  2. Wow, these images are powerful stuff. I never saw anybody post a photo of the graffiti! What a find. I never knew the story, either. What book is Moira talking about? You have a book?

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    • The book is called Secret Florence by Niccolo Rinaldi. I did a post called Secret Florence about my first discoveries on 23rd April. The book is wonderful. It is fun to wander around Florence looking for these often unobserved things. I have been to Florence dozens of times and not seen this little bit of graffiti.

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  3. The statue is cool, but, yes, the graffiti is even more amazing! Just hope it wasn’t some poor guy waiting to be executed. But then again, I guess he’s lived on.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

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    • It is a bit grim to think about public executions taking place in the centre of Florence. I think we are safe now.

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  4. Hahaha…yes, it was a nice view, thank you. 🙂 The graffiti is fantastic!

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  5. Hi we are in florence at the moment and I found the head of the bull that you showed us on secret florence! We are having a fab time.

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    • Now you can look for the graffiti on Palazzo Vecchio. Have a wonderful time in Florence. I was there yesterday. Go to Giacosa behind the Roberto Cavalli shop in Via Tornabuone for a delicious coffee, snack and people watching.

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    • Thank you debs, just on our way out now, we are going to look for the graffiti and have a coffee where you recommend.

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  6. Beautiful photos! 🙂

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  7. My dad, the florentine historian of the Francini family, swears by the fact that it is a Michelangelo sketch of Dante, who he was watching while in the piazza!!!

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    • That is amazing. I will look with new eyes next time.

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  8. It does seem your more enamored with their credentials , than their history Debra :):)

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  9. Can’t wait for you to visit Venice with the relevant book clutched to your person

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  10. So many nooks and crannies in Florence, and in Italy in general. Those statues, I remember those very well. What an eye you have, Debra. That behind bit is hilarious!

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    • Ow, this reminds me of a post by timelessitaly – Why did Michelangelo put horns on Moses?. But I see you already commented on that post.

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    • I love discovering new things.

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  11. Deb, that book is a gem. I stood by that statue for quite a while, even going around it. Not once did I notice the graffiti. I didn’t even think to look for secrets. How intriguing. I wonder who it was… Of course I have a million stories in my head. I cannot wait for more.

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    • The book is going to keep me busy for a long time.

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  12. We will look at it next week when we are in Florence. Thanks Debra

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    • There are lots of interesting little secrets in Florence.

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  13. amazing – must get this book!

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  14. How fascinating! Shall get my hands on the book before I return to Florence. or better still meet you there 🙂

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  15. Yes, you are very cheeky with your rear view photo of Hercules, Debra! 🙂
    That little piece of ‘graffiti’ from Michaelangelo….now, that’s fascinating! Will look for it next time we’re in Florence.

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  16. Great book and a great article too. Secret Florence sounds fascinating.
    All those little things that most tourists would miss. Must get a copy.
    What a fabulous city Florence is; you could spend a long time just getting to know it.

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  17. Thanks for yet another gem. There’s always something new to see, especially if one is adeptly pointed in the right direction. .

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  18. We will check it next time and I have to get that book! Thanks, Debra!

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  19. Will do Deb…. and I’ll think of you!

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  20. bahaha laughed out loud about walking behind the statue and looking up….nice view indeed!!!

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    • A view I have seen many times, possibly why I missed the sketch.

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  21. Thanks for the eye candy images, Debra. 🙂 Interesting graffiti. I hope there is a happier story about it, than the gallows victim. 😕

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  22. I’ve never noticed the graffiti but I shall certainly look for it next time I’m down in Firenze!! Grazie!!

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    • It is quite easy to spot when you know it is there.

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  23. I was told two stories of the profile by an old Florentine: That someone bet Michelangelo that he couldn’t carve a portrait behind his back and this was the end result and the other was that there was a man that frequented the piazza that was very long winded and this was a carving Michelangelo did of him while listening to one of his boring orations. I like the Dante version, though. Maybe he was the bore? 😉

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    • I like both explanations. Dante looks like a very serious fellow in all his portraits, perhaps he was a serious bore.

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