Uffizi Gallery


Info

Opening hours:Tuesday-Sunday 8:15am–6:30pm.

Closing days: Mondays, January 1, May 1, Christmas Day.


Description

The Uffizi, originally the state 'offices' built for Cosimo I, evolved into a gallery to display art works in the Medici family's collection. It now houses thousands of paintings from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries collected by or gifted to the Medici and their successors. The top floor corridor, dating from 1580, was designed to be a statue gallery, where many of the numerous ancient sculptures in the Medici's collection at the Pitti Palace were transferred. The corridor from the 1580's is still lined with the Medici's classical sculptures, a collection begun by Lorenzo the Magnificent for his San Marco garden to be studied by budding young artists, such as Michelangelo. The Uffizi collection concentrates largely on painting from the Gothic Middle Ages through the Renaissance to the Baroque period and is displayed in chronological order. Some of the highlights you may wish to see are the following:

Giotto

Giotto is regarded as the key figure in the artistic revolution that turned into the Renaissance. In his Maesta from 1310 he uses light and dark, or chiaroscuro, and an exaggerated use of shadow to show depth. Giotto is observing and painting, it seems, from real life and for this reason he is considered the “Grandfather of the Renaissance,” a revolution that within a century from his time changed the art world for ever.

Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli represents for many the Golden Age of the Renaissance. His well known masterpieces of Venus and Primavera are a fascinating combination of the study of nature, classical mythology, religion and the Medici theme of humanist philosophy.

Leonardo da Vinci

The Baptism of Christ is a wonderful example of the unique talent of da Vinci, who worked on this image in the 1470's as a young apprentice, painting the kneeling angel on the left with such skill and beauty that the Master Verocchio decided to give up painting forever and concentrate on sculpture. In the Annunciation, which he painted when he was around twenty years old, we see a brilliant example of Da Vinci's mathematical approach to depicting perspective.

Michelangelo

Michelangelo’s only surviving complete panel painting, the Doni Tondo, is considered one of the most important and enigmatic artworks of the 16th century. Each of the figures in this painting demonstrates the influence that classical sculpture had on the artist, clearly taking cues from some of the most famous ancient statues known at the time.

Raphael

In one of the most significant portraits of the Renaissance, Raphael portrays two Medici Popes in the portrait of Pope Leo X. On the left is the Pope's cousin and the future Pope Clement VII. Vasari noted “the softness of the velvet, the rustle and brilliance of the damask, the fluffy fur trimming, and the gold and silks imitated so well that they do not seem painted, but real”. The Madonna of the Goldfinch was painted by the artist when he was only 23 years old, and after years of poor conservation and repainting, has been beautifully restored to reveal the original rich blue sky, the green Tuscan countryside and a radiant, fresh faced Madonna in a red dress and blue cloak.

Titian

Room 28 has no less than eleven paintings by Titian (Tiziano in Italian), the most famous of these works is the Venus of Urbino, indeed one of the most famous erotic images of all time. This beautiful, sensual, controversial oil painting was painted by a middle-aged Titian in 1538. The image depicts a young woman with long flowing hair, reclining on an unmade bed as she looks directly at the viewer, alert, calm and confident.

Caravaggio

In this room is Caravaggio's unforgettable Medusa, her mouth wide open in a scream and with an incredulous and terrified gaze, the Sacrifice of Isaac, with Abraham ready to kill his own son, and the Bacchus. An early work of the artist, the Bacchus depicts a young God of Wine wearing a huge crown of grape vines and holding out a delicate goblet of red wine, as if inviting the viewer to join him. His rosy cheeks and sleepy eyes suggest he is already inebriated. A tiny self portrait of the artist himself can be seen on the reflective surface of the glass of the carafe.