Uffizi Gallery Galleria degli Uffizi
The Uffizi contains one of the most important collections of paintings in the world, which, besides Florentine and Italian art, also includes a large number of foreign works and valuable Classical sculpture. The collections began as the private gallery of the Medici princes, and were bequeathed to the city of Florence by the Electress Anna Maria Ludovica von der Pfalz, the last heiress of the house of Medici, who died in 1743.
Official site: www.polomuseale.firenze.it/en/musei/?m=uffizi
Address: Via della Ninna 5, I-50122 Florence, Italy
Opening hours: 8:15am-6:50pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €10.00, Concession or reduced rate €5.00
Useful tips: Last admission half hour before closing.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Tuscan art debuted around 1300 with several Madonna paintings reflecting its beginnings. They are on display in Room 2 of Palazzo degli Uffizi.
Sienese Art, 14th Century
In the meantime, however, there continued to be more conservative painters such as the Sienese artist Simone Martini, whose "Annunciation", dating from about 1333, is still very much Gothic in style. Its gilded setting, with its turrets, gables and decoration, is redolent with motifs from Gothic architecture. The "Annunciation" is a work of great refinement and elegance, from the angel's fluttering garment to the shyly recoiling Virgin. The movements are of a lyrical tenderness and sensitivity; the sculptural nature of the figures is subordinated to two-dimensional draftsmanship, i.e. the lines are emphasized and thus accentuate the slenderness of the finely articulated figures. Just as Northern Gothic architecture created buildings that were tall, slender and embellished with complex decoration, the Gothic ideal of beauty expressed itself in art in slim, delicate and almost ethereal female images.Other works of the 14th century Sienese school in Room 3 are the "Madonna in Glory" (1340) and panels showing scenes from the Life of Blessed Humility (1341) by Pietro Lorenzetti, a follower of Giotto. His brother Ambrogio Lorenzetti is represented by his scenes from the life of St Nicholas, in which narrative force is combined with a feeling for form and color and attempts at representation using perspective.
Florentine Art, 14th Century
The most prominent of Giotto's Florentine followers represented here are Bernardo Daddi (d. 1348) and Taddeo Gaddi (d. 1366), whose altarpieces are characterized by delicate colors and soft, graceful lines in realistic representations of people and places.
High Gothic 15th Century Art
Gothic continued to dominate art in the period that followed, and the early 15th century works of Lorenzo Monaco "The Adoration of the Magi" (1420) and "The Coronation of the Virgin" (1413) are still using the standard forms and colors of the international style of Gothic.However, the chief representative of the "International Style" in Italy was Gentile da Fabriano, and his "Adoration of the Magi" (1423) strikingly conveys the artist's Gothic ideal of beauty. This picture dates from the period of transition from Gothic to Renaissance. In its lavish attention to detail it testifies to the high aspirations of Palla Strozzi, the wealthy commissioner of the work. There is, however, still no sign of a radical break with tradition. Gentile shows no interest in the individualism characteristic of Renaissance art, but instead revels in the fairy-tale splendor reminiscent of Burgundian manuscripts.
Masaccio and Fra Angelico are a few of the Early Renaissance artists whose work is exhibited at the Galleria degli Uffizi. Perspective, including three dimensions, and portraiture were a focus of their work.
Filippo Lippi and son Filippino
Another example of Florentine portrait painting is Filippo Lippi's "Virgin and Child with two angels" (ca. 1460). Largely detached from its religious subject matter, this late work by Lippi is the portrait of an elegantly dressed, girl-like beauty, her half-profile revealing the high, smooth, fashionably shaven forehead of the time, with a veil artistically woven into her golden hair. She is seated on an ornate chair at an open window, and two angels, smiling with delight, are lifting the baby Jesus up to her. The scene radiates cheerfulness and grace, although the Infant Christ looks rather grave. The rocky landscape seen through the window, taken in conjunction with the child's sorrowful expression, presumably is a reference to Golgotha and the Crucifixion. Of greater importance to the artist, however, is the bond of affection between mother and child, the tender physical touching and the eye-contact. Art's religious content became increasingly secularized towards the end of the 15th century, and subservient to the representation of interpersonal relationships. Women and motherhood, children's upbringing, and family happiness were important themes for discussion and representation by contemporary artists.Lippi's other works, such as the Tarquinia Madonna (1437), the "Virgin enthroned with saints" (ca. 1445), the "Coronation of the Virgin" and the "Adoration in the forest with St Romuald and the child John", combine the monumental three-dimensional figures of Masaccio with buildings and landscapes flooded with light, and an elegantly flowing line.
The pictures, like the statuettes by the Pollaiolo brothers, are distinguished by powerful forms, bodies full of movement that result from a searching anatomical analysis. This is particularly evident in "Hercules and Antaeus" and "Hercules and the Hydra". On the other hand, the form of St Jacob taking up the whole of the altarpiece from the Cappella del Cardinale di Portogallo in San Miniato al Monte shows the trend towards monumental altarpieces rather than smaller polyptychs.The early work of Sandro Botticelli also merits special attention. His Virgins are still strongly reminiscent of the style of his teacher, Filippo Lippi. "Valour" (1470) is regarded one of the early works, as is the portrait of an unknown man with the medallion of Cosimo the Elder, a charming contrast between full and half profile.The Pollaiolo fetures the early work of Botticelli.
Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" was commissioned by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de Medici and completed in 1483. The painting combines Classical mythology with Christian theology.
After the death of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci was a pupil of Andrea del Verrocchio, a goldsmith and sculptor. Leonardo's work was influenced by scientific findings of his time.
Of particular interest in this room, besides the marble Hermaphroditus, a Roman copy of the Greek original from the second/third century B.C., and the "Cupid and Psyche", are the works of Andrea Mantegna, from Northern Italy. They include his "Triptych" (1466) with Ascension, Adoration of the Magi and Circumcision, and the "Madonna delle Cave" (1489). His true-to-life representation of people and his religious humanism strongly influenced the work of Albrecht Dürer.
In the center is the "Medici Venus", the most famous Classical marble sculpture in Florence and thought to be a late Greek version of the "Aphrodite of Cnidus" by Praxiteles. Other important statues are the "Apollino" (after Praxiteles), "Arrotino" ("Scythian sharpening a knife"; Pergamon School, second or third century B.C.), the "Wrestlers" (Pergamon School) and "Dancing Faun" (third century B.C., copy).The walls are mainly hung with Mannerist portraits of the Medici family from about 1530 to 1570, the most outstanding being those by Pontormo, Bronzino and Vasari.
Pietro Perugino was from Umbria and was a pupil of Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence. His "Madonna with saints" and various portraits display a balanced composition, three-dimensional realism and subdued color. As Raphael's teacher he paved the way for the classical art of the High Renaissance.Luca Signorelli's "Holy Family" (ca. 1495) and "Madonna and Child", on the other hand, show much more turbulence and movement through extreme foreshortening of parts of the body and flaring color. His painting influenced the young Michelangelo.
German Renaissance Art, Cranach, Dürer
This room holds masterpieces by Lucas Cranach including his portrait of Martin Luther and his wife Katharina, a self-portrait, an impressive "Melanchthon" and a rather erotic "Adam and Eve", and by Albrecht Dürer - "Virgin and Child" (1526), "Portrait of the Father" (1490) and "Adoration of the Magi" (1504), painted shortly before his second Italian journey.
Venice and Northern Italy, Bellini, Giorgione
Venetian painting, characterized by soft, tonal color and balanced light, together with harmonious landscapes and restful figures, is represented by Giovanni Bellini's "Religious Allegory" (ca. 1485) and "Scenes from the life of Moses" (Judgment of Solomon, Trial by Fire) and by Giorgione's "Portrait of a Maltese horseman".
German and Flemish painters, 16th c.
Works by Albrecht Altdorfer, "Scenes from the life of St Florian" (ca. 1525) and a portrait of Richard Southwell by Hans Holbein the Elder (1536), as well as works by Gerard David, Joos van Cleve and Lucas van der Leyden.
Mainly religious works by Antonio Allegri, better known as Correggio after his birthplace, a representative of High Renaissance art in Northern Italy (Emilia), whose diagonal pictorial compositions with light effects and unusual depths of perspective had a lasting influence on later Baroque painting.
High Renaissance, Michelangelo and Rosso Fiorentino Art was more abstract art than had been seen in the art world during the 1500's. The art and artists were moving away from classical styles.
Raphael, Andrea del Sarto
This room contains three important works by Raphael: a self-portrait (ca. 1506) showing him aged twenty-three, his charming "Virgin Mary with the Goldfinch", an effective triangular composition, and "Pope Leo X with the Cardinals Giulio de'Medici and Luigi de'Rossi".The Pope presents himself to the onlooker as a modern man in the spirit of the Renaissance. He wishes to be seen as a humanist, a lover of literature, and a collector of precious things. Raphael depicts him between 1517 and 1519 as an individual, not simply a holder of office, and at the same time creates a balance between ideal form and true appearance, by representing the Pope, a lover of the arts and music, as a self-assured, strong-willed, intellectual character, despite his unprepossessing appearance, but without superimposing an attitude of power. In accordance with the Pope's wishes, Raphael also painted two Cardinals in the background, the Pope's close relatives, confidants and protégés, a fact which caused him to be reproached for nepotism. Raphael solves the difficult problem of a group portrait of subjects of unequal rank by showing the Pope seated, glancing up from his perusal of a valuable codex of miniatures, with his two confidants, Cardinal Luigi Rosso and Giulio de Medici - later Pope Clement VII - framing him on either side. Another interesting feature is the contrast between the idealized figures on the one hand, and, on the other, the true-to-life details of the handwriting, the finely engraved bell and the chair knob, with its reflection of part of the papal chamber.Another painting worth singling out is Andrea del Sarto's "Madonna with the Harpies", a monumental altarpiece that is typical of Florentine High Renaissance art by a painter who combines Raphael's soft, tonal technique with Michelangelo's monumentality and Leonardo da Vinci's atmospheric sfumato.
Mannerism was the transitional phase in the 16th c. between Renaissance and Baroque, a turbulent style of painting, full of movement, with the aim of achieving an intensification of expression through the distortion of reality on the one hand, and mystically transfiguring piety on the other. Jacopo da Pontormo's "Supper at Emmaus" (ca. 1525) was painted for the Carthusian convent near Florence. His works are influenced by his teachers Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Sarto fused with inspiration from the late work of Raphael and the monumental art of Michelangelo. Another influence was Dürer, especially his Passion cycle. "Supper at Emmaus" is distinctive for the spiritual yet mysterious representation of Christ and the young men at the same time as the treatment the Carthusian monks in a naturalistic way with the effective use of light. Pontormo's pupil Agnolo Bronzino painted religious and mythological subjects, but was chiefly admired for his formal portraits of elegant, rather cool sitters (Room 18, Tribuna).
Titian & Parmigianino
Works by the Venetian painter Titian in this room include his "Venus of Urbino (1538), "Ludovico Beccadelli" (1552), "Venus and Cupid" (1560), "Eleonora Gonzaga della Rovere", "Francesco Maria, Duke of Urbino" and "La Flora", one of his finest portraits of women. The "Venus of Urbino" was painted for the Duke of Urbino, and is fascinating in the way it uses color, with the shades of red pulling the different parts of the picture together diagonally and in spatial perspective.Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, known as Parmigianino after Parma, his birthplace, was first influenced by Correggio, then the Roman High Renaissance, and finally got caught up in the Mannerist Movement. The "Madonna with the Long Neck", painted between 1534 and 1540, is a good example of the distortion characteristic of Mannerism, with its highly elongated figures and strange light.
Works by Dosso Dossi, one of the chief masters of the Ferrara School, first half of the 16th century, with romantic, atmospheric religious and mythological scenes; also "La Fornarina" by Sebastiano del Piombo (1512) and "Head of a Youth" by Lorenzo Lotto (1505).Mostly small-scale works by Mannerist artists, including Alessandro Allori, Agnolo Bronzino, Jacopo Ligozzi, and Giorgio Vasari, and foreign painters including François Clouet, Anthonis Mor, and Luis de Morales.Room 34Highlights among the 16th and 17th century works by Venetian artists in this room are Veronese's "Holy Family with St Barbara", "Annunciation", and "Martyrdom of St Justina" and Tintoretto's "Portrait of a Man".Room 35"Leda and the Swan", "Jacopo Sansovino", "Christ at the Well" and "The Samaritan Woman" by Tintoretto, portrait of Francesco Maria della Rovere and "Madonna del Popolo" by Federico Barocci, who was born in Urbino.
The entrance to the Vasari corridor in the Uffizi is between Room 25 and Room 34. The Corridoio Vasariano, which crosses the Arno along the Ponte Vecchio, is named after Giorgio Vasari who built it for Cosimo I in 1565. It enabled the Medicis to walk unseen from the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti.The Corridoio Vasari contains a rich collection of portraits by Italian and foreign artists. These are primarily self portraits, but there are also portraits and copies of self portraits. The collection is constantly being updated, so portraits by modern artists such as James Ensor and Carlo Levis can be found alongside the work of Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Velásquez.
Rubens, Van Dyck
Van Dyck's portraits of the Emperor Charles V and Giovanni di Montfort, plus some of Rubens' finest works - "Henry IV at Ivry" and "Henry IV entering Paris", "Isabella Brandt" (his first wife) and "Entry of Ferdinand of Austria into Antwerp".
Pride of place in this room, decorated in the Classical style between 1779 and 1780, is taken by "Niobe and her Children", a Roman copy, discovered in Rome in 1583, of fifth and fourth centuries B.C.Greek originals, and the finest Classical sculpture in Florence after the Medici "Venus". In the center is the "Medici Vase" from the second century B.C.; there are also other Classical statues, and paintings mostly by 18th century artists (Canaletto).Room 43 Flemish painters17th century landscapes and genre paintings including works by Segher, Jakob van Ruisdael, Jan Steen, Gabriel Metsù, and Frans van Mieris.
Carvaggio's "Medusa", "Youthful Bacchus" (1589), and "Sacrifice of Isaac" (1590).The Uffizi's Rembrandts are "Self Portrait as an Old Man (1664), "Portrait of an Old Man" (the so-called "Rabbi; 1658 or 1666) and "Self Portrait as a Young Man" (1633/1634).
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