Uffizi Gallery.  in Florence, Italy

Uffizi Gallery

in Florence, Italy

The Uffizi Gallery during White Night Festival Photo © Kevin Poh

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Uffizi Gallery

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Niobe Room at the Uffizi - Uffizi Gallery
Niobe Room at the Uffizi - Uffizi Gallery. Photo by Joseph Maestri
The Uffizi, Italy’s greatest art gallery, was built in 1560-1580 to house offices (uffici) for Duke Cosimo I. The architect, Vasari, used iron as reinforcement, which enabled his successor, Buontalenti, to create an almost continuous wall of glass on the upper story. This was used as a gallery for Francesco I to display the Medici's art treasures.

Exploring the Uffizi

The Uffizi, located in Florence, offers not only the chance to see the world’s greatest collection of Italian Renaissance paintings but also the opportunity to enjoy masterpieces from as far afield as Holland, Spain, and Germany. Accumulated over the centuries by the Medici, the collection was first housed in the Uffizi in 1581, and eventually bequeathed to the Florentine people by Anna Maria Lodovica, the last of Medici.

Uffizi
	Gallery - Uffizi Gallery
Uffizi Gallery. Photo by Joseph Maestri


Ognissanti Madonna by
	Giotto - Uffizi Gallery
Ognissanti Madonna by Giotto - Uffizi Gallery. Photo by G R

Gothic Art

Past the statues and antiquities of Room 1, the Uffizi proper opens in style with three altarpieces of the Maesta, or Madonna Enthroned, by Giotto (Wikipedia Article), Duccio, and Cimabue, some of Italy’s greatest 13th- century painters. Each work marks a stage in the development of Italian painting away from the stilted conventions of Byzantium to the livelier traditions of Gothic and Renaissance art. The shift is best expressed in Giotto’s version of the subject (known as the Ognissanti Madonna), where new feeling for depth and naturalistic detail is shown in the range of emotion displayed by the saints and angels, and by the carefully evoked three-dimensionality of the Virgin’s throne.

Giotto’s naturalistic influence can also be seen among the paintings of Room 4, which is devoted to the 14th-century Florentine School, an interesting counterpoint to the Sienese paintings of Duccio and his followers in Room 3. Among the many fine paintings here are works by Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti, and Simeone Martini’s Annunciation. Room 6 is devoted to International Gothic, a highly decorative style that represented the height of Gothic expression. It is exemplified by Gentile da Fabriano’s exquisite, glittering Adoration of the Magi painted in 1423.

Adoration of
	the Magi - Uffizi Gallery
Adoration of the Magi - Uffizi Gallery. Photo by jean louis mazieres

Early Renaissance

The Battle of San
	Romano - Uffizi Gallery
The Battle of San Romano - Uffizi Gallery. Photo by jean louis mazieres
A new understanding of geometry and perspective during the 15th century increasingly allowed artists to explore the complexities of space and depth. None became more obsessed with these new compositional possibilities than Paolo Uccello (Wikipedia Article) (1397-1475), whose picture of The Battle of San Romano (1456) in Room 7 is one of the gallery’s most fevered creations. Room 7 also contains two panels from 1460 by Piero della Francesca, another artist preoccupied with the art of perspective.

The panels, which are among the earliest Renaissance portraits, depict the Duke and Duchess of Urbino on one side and representations of their virtues on the other. While such works can seem coldly experimental, Fra Filippo Lippi’s Madonna and Child with Angels (1455-66) in Room 8, is a masterpiece of warmth and humanity. Like many Renaissance artists, Lippi uses a religious subject to celebrate earthly delights such as landscape and feminine beauty. A similar approach is apparent in the works of Botticelli, whose famous paintings in Room 10-14 may be the highlight of the gallery. In The Birth of Venus, for example, Venus takes the place of the Virgin, expressing a fascination with Classical mythology common to many Renaissance artists. The same is true of the Primavera (1480), which breaks with Christian religious painting by illustrating a pagan rite of spring.

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli -
	Uffizi Gallery
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli - Uffizi Gallery. Photo by jean louis mazieres

High Renaissance and Mannerism

Annonciation by Leonardo da Vinci - Uffizi Gallery
Annonciation by Leonardo da Vinci - Uffizi Gallery. Photo by jean louis mazieres
Room 15 features works attributed to the young Leonardo Da Vinci, notably a sublime Annunciation (1472-5), which reveals hints of his still emerging style, and the Adoration of the Magi (1481), which remained unfinished when he left Florence for Milan to paint The Last Supper (1495-8). Room 18, better known as the Tribune, was designed in 1584 by Buontalenti in order to accommodate the best-loved pieces of the Medici collection.

It’s most famous work is the so-called Medici Venus (1st century BC), a Roman copy of a Greek statue deemed to be the most erotic in the ancient world. The copy proved equally salacious and was removed from Rome’s Villa Medici by Cosimo III to keep it from corrupting the city’s art students. Other highlights in Room 18 include Agnolo Bronzino’s portraits of Cosimo I and Eleonora di Toledo, both painted around 1545, Pontormo’s Charity (1530), and the portrait of Cosimo il Vecchio (1517).

Rooms 19 to 23 depart from the gallery’s Florentine bias, demonstrating how rapidly Renaissance ideas and techniques spread beyond Tuscany (Wikipedia Article). Painters from the German and Flemish school, including Albrecht Durer, are well represented together with painters from Umbria like Perugino, but perhaps the most captivating works are the paintings by Venetian and northern Italian artists such as Mantegna, Carpaccio, Correggio, and Bellini. Room 25,which returns to the Tuscan mainstream, is dominated by Michelangelo’s Holy Family or Doni Tondo (1456), notable for its vibrant colors and the Virgin’s unusual twisted pose.

The gallery’s only work by Michelangelo, it was to prove immensely influential with the next generation of painters, especially Bronzino (1503-72), Pontoromo (1494-1556), and Parmigianino (1503-40). The last of these was responsible for the Madonna of the Long Neck (c.1534) in Room 29. With its contorted anatomy, unnatural colors, and strange composition, this painting is a masterpiece of the style that came to be called Mannerism (Wikipedia Article). Earlier, but no less remarkable masterpieces in Rooms 26 and 28 include Raphael’s sublime Madonna of the Goldfinch (1506) and Titan’s notorious Venus of Urbino (1538), censured by Mark Twain as the “foulest, the vilest, the obscenest picture the world possesses.” Others hold it to be one of the most beautiful nudes ever painted.

Sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggio - Uffizi Gallery
Sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggio - Uffizi Gallery. Photo by carulmare

Later Paintings

Visitors, already sated by a surfeit of outstanding paintings, are often tempted to skim through the Uffizi’s final rooms. The paintings in Rooms 30 to 35 – which are mainly from the Veneto and Emilia-Romagna – are mostly unexceptional, but the gallery’s last room (41-45) contain paintings that compare favorably with those in previous rooms. Room 43 has three works by Caravaggio: Medusa (1596-8), painted for a Roman cardinal; Bacchus (c.1589), one of the artist’s earliest works; and the Sacrifice of Isaac (c.1590), whose violent subject is belied by the painting’s gentle background landscape. Room 44, dedicated to Rembrandt and northern European painting, features Rembrandt’s Portrait of an Old Man (1665) and two self-portraits of the artist as a young and old man (painted in 1634 and 1644, respectively). Canaletto, Goya, Tiepolo, and other 18th-century artists bring the gallery to its conclusion.

Uffizi Galleries - Uffizi
	Gallery
Uffizi Galleries - Uffizi Gallery. Photo by Angie

Tickets

 - Uffizi
	Gallery
Uffizi Gallery. Photo by SnippyHolloW
There are 3 types of tickets: full, reduced, and free.

Full

  • All non-EU citizens over the age of 18.
  • All EU citizens over 25.
  • Check below to see if you qualify for a reduced or free ticket.


Reduced

  • EU citizens between 18 and 25 years old (valid identity document needed at the entrance)
  • Teachers from EU public institutes (Vatican city, Montecarlo, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Republic of San Marino and Lichtestein are included) with proof of position.


Free

  • Minors under 18 years old, regardless of citizenship (valid identity document needed at the entrance).
  • EU citizens with a handicap/disability and one accompanying family member.
  • ICOM (International Council of Museums) members.
  • Journalists with valid ID showing professional status.

Reservations of Uffizi Tickets can be carried out in
Palazzo Pitti*, in the reception halls of the “new Uffizi”. The information and reservations office as well as the museum open every day from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8.30 AM to 19.00 PM. It’s also possible to buy tickets online!

Nearby Things to See



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Author: d.todorovski. Last updated: Feb 23, 2015

Pictures of Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery - Uffizi Gallery
Uffizi Gallery - Photo by kotog

Outside the Uffizi Gallery - Uffizi Gallery
Outside the Uffizi Gallery - Photo by SpirosK photography

Uffizi - Uffizi Gallery
Uffizi - Uffizi Gallery. Photo by Megan Danner

The Virgin and Child with Four Angels and Six Saints by Sandro Botticelli - Uffizi Gallery
The Virgin and Child with Four Angels and Six Saints by Sandro Botticelli - Uffizi Gallery. Photo by jean louis mazieres

Calumny of Apelles by Sandro Botticelli - Uffizi Gallery
Calumny of Apelles by Sandro Botticelli - Uffizi Gallery. Photo by jean louis mazieres

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