Galleria degli Uffizi


Datos principales

The Uffizi
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze, Italia
+39 055 23885


The Uffizi gallery was set up by the Medici family in the 15th century. It soon became specialised in Renaissance art. It houses works by the great masters, such as Botticelli's Primavera, Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi, Michelangelo's Tondo Doni, Hugo van der Goes' Portinari triptych and Raphael's portrait of Pope Leo X. The building was commissioned by the Medici. The family lived in the Palazzo Vecchio (the old palace) which was not big enough for all the family's activities. As a result Cosmino I de' Medici commissioned the Renaissance painter and theorist, Giorgio Vasari, to build the Uffizi building. Cosmino wanted to use the building as the seat for the offices (hence the name Uffizi) of thirteen magistracies, in other words as an administration centre for Florence. The building is located between the Palazzo Vecchio and the Palazzo Pitti, and the original project was altered to join them together. Francesco I, Cosmino's son, made his own alterations, giving the gallery a spectacular, rather than practical, atmosphere. When Vasari died in 1574 the building was still not finished and as a result Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti were called to complete it. Buontalenti was responsible for the beautiful Porta delle Suppliche. The building was inaugurated in 1581 and all the scholars and intellectuals of the time praised it for its modernity and audacity. The design of the building matches the classical style in fashion at the time. However, the decoration goes a step further, opting for the innovative mannerist trends with frescos by Alessandro Allori which allegorise episodes from the life of the Medici family. The building was set out according to cultural matters. By this stage it was an art gallery, but it was still also used as the Magistracy. On the first floor of the east wing there was the Teatro Mediceo, which today has been turned in to a Museum of Drawings and Prints. The Theatre was built in 1585, shortly after the building was inaugurated, like the Loggia dei Lanzi, an interior garden built in 1583. In the west wing were the craftsmen's factories, the porcelain and precious stones workshops, and the goldsmiths that were at the service of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the title awarded to the Medici. The building soon became too small and as a result the Grand Duke Ferdinando II and his brother, the cardinal Leopoldo Medici, doubled the size of the gallery, opening new art rooms where the offices had originally been. These reforms were carried out in the mid-17th century and led to the creation of the Portrait Gallery, instigated by Leopoldo and located in the corridors that link the Uffizi with the Pitti Palace. The art collection was formed from the Medici's own extremely important private collection. The first new acquisitions were made by Cosmino II de' Medici, the most notable of which is Correggio's Adoration. Antonio de' Medici acquired Mantegna's triptych and in 1631 the Grand Duchess Victoria donated important works such as a portrait by Piero della Francesa, Rafael's self-portrait, and a couple of portraits and a Venus by Titian. In 1635 the Tondo Doni joined the collection and in 1639 Correggio's Flight to Egypt was added. Cosmino III, governor from 1670, acquired Rembrandt's portrait of the Rabbi Morteyra and Leonardo's Adoration. His son, Ferdinando, who ruled until 1713, acquired Andrea del Sarto's famous Madonna delle Arpie. As can be seen from these purchases, High Renaissance and Mannerist works predominate in the collection. From 1780 the collection was organised according to neoclassical enlightened guidelines: by artistic schools, with an emphasis on Italian schools. New additions such as Titian's Flora, Bellini's Allegory and Dürer's Epiphany come from this period. During the 19th century very few acquisitions were made. During the two world wars the gallery went through a very difficult period, especially during the Second World War when it was severely damaged. After the conflict Cimabue's Christ was added to the collection, which came from the church of Santa Croce. The latest transformation the gallery suffered was the result of a terrible fire in the 1990s which damaged various works and rooms which had to undergo major restoration work. The schools represented in the gallery are mainly Italian. The oldest works are from the Trecento, some of the most important of which are Duccio's Rucellai Madonna, Giotto's Ognissanti Madonna, Simone Martini's delicate Annunciation, and Gentile da Fabriano's sophisticated Adoration of the Magi on wood panel. The greatest masters from the Quattrocento are well represented in the gallery. We can contemplate the three versions of the Battle of San Romano by Paolo Ucello, Fra Filippo Lippi's Madonna and Child and the pair of portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Montefeltro by Piero della Francesa. There is also an extensive collection of paintings by Botticelli including his Primavera, The Birth of Venus and the Adoration of the Magi, which are famous all over the world. The collection of paintings by the geniuses of the Cinquecento includes works by Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael, such as the Madonna of the Goldfinch and his portrait of Pope Leo X. Titian's Venus of Urbino is another important work that can be seen in the Uffizi. From the Mannerist period are works like Parmigianino's Madonna del Collo Lungo. The journey through Italian painting comes to an end with the Baroque period, such as Caravaggio's Bacchus. Other schools are less well represented. There are however a number of important examples from the Northern European school, with Flemish works such as the Portinari Triptych and German works like the pair of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder. From the Baroque period there is the portrait of Isabella Brandt by Rubens. There are also three impressive self-portraits by Rembrandt, which bring this journey through the treasures of the Uffizi collection to an end.

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