Despite its history, the building is seen as one of the great examples of the new style. Its more notable features include: • the attempt to create a proportional relationship between nave and aisle (aisle bays are square whereas nave bays are 2X1. • the articulation of the structure in pietra serena (Italian: “dark stone”). • the use of an integrated system of column, arches, entablatures. • a clear relationship between column and pilaster, the latter meant to be read as a type of embedded pier. • the use of proper proportions for the height of the columns • the use of spherical segments in the vaults of the side aisles.
There are significant problems in the design, most, however, occur at the level of detail. Already Giorgio Vasari thought that the columns along the nave should have been elevated on plinths. That the pilasters along the wall of the side aisles rest on a floor that is three steps higher than the nave, is also considered an error.
San Lorenzo is often compared with Santo Spirito, also in Florence. Santo Spirito, which Brunelleschi began somewhat later, is considered to have been constructed more or less in conformity with his ideas, even though Brunelleschi died before most of it was built.
Outer and inner facades:
The Medici Pope Leo X gave Michelangelo the commission to design a façade in white Carrara marble in 1518. Michelangelo made a wooden model, which shows how he adjusted the classical proportions of the facade, drawn to scale, after the ideal proportions of the human body, to the greater height of the nave. The work remained unbuilt. Michelangelo did, however, design and build the internal facade, seen from the nave looking back toward the entrances. It comprises three doors between two pilasters with garlands of oak and laurel and a balcony on two Corinthian columns.
In recent years, the association of “Friends of the Elettrice Palatina” and the