Have you ever visited the first floor of the church of Orsanmichele? The old granary of Florence became a church in 1340s when the lodge Arnolfo di Cambio built caught fire and the Republic erected the church of Florentine guilds! Lorenzo Ghiberti, Andrea del Verrocchio, Donatello, Nanni di Banco, Giambologna are part of the main artists who worked for the Republic. Each one scultpted a different patron saint related to the guild had commissioned the work. The fourteen statues situated in the niches on the four sides of the church are all copies. The original works of art are preserved at the first floor of the church except S. George by Donatello. The holy warrior was the first statue to be moved to the Bargello museum in 1891 where a whole room is still today dedicated to Cosimo the Elder's friend.
A very interesting exhibition gives us rhe opportunity to observe the different techniques the masters applied to model a bronze or a marble statue; the choice of a different material depended on the richness of the guild. The collection dates back from the XV century to the XVI century with S. Luca by Giambologna for the guild of "Judges and Notaries".
Guilds which couldn't afford a marble or a bronze statue chose another way to represent their patron saint: they painted him on the pillar of the church with a fresco decoration.
The museum completes inside one of the most unusual churches of Florence even for its shape. Many details tell us about the old granary and they are still visible on the walls of the actual church!
The "Incredulity of S. Thomas" by Andrea del Verrocchio