“It’s like a new museum has been opened inside the Uffizi”, says the director of the Uffizi Eike Schmidt. 104 paintings, 14 rooms, 1.100 square meters. These are the numbers of the latest renovation works at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The new rooms were inaugurated on 29th May 2019.
Displayed inside these beautifully renovated rooms you’ll discover Florentine, Venetian and international artists of the 16th century, and early 17th century. There are also several paintings that have been in the museum’s deposit for many decades, now finally back on display. Some iconic artworks have been given a new arrangement with optimised lighting that enhances the visitor’s experience.
The New Rooms at the Uffizi – What you can expect to find inside
The languid and seductive “Venus of Urbino” by Titian has a room entirely dedicated to herself, on a green painted wall that has been chosen as background for the Venetian artists’ works (inspired by the green drapery and room decoration often seen in Venetian paintings).
Meanwhile the Florentine paintings are set against grey walls, to mirror the nuances of the pietra serena , the local stone originally used to build the Uffizi Gallery.
Around 30 paintings are back on display after being hidden in the museum’s deposit for decades. The highly emotive “Madonna del Popolo” by Federico Barocci is on show after ten years in the impressive Sala del Pilastro. This great hall is set up like the interior of a church, displayed with a collection of altar pieces that date back to the Counter-Reformation period.
The “Caduta degli Angeli Ribelli” (Fall of the Rebel Angels) by Andrea Commodi , is a preparatory sketch for a dramatic painting that features a tangle of naked bodies. Here the Florentine artist was inspired by Michelangelo’s achievement in the Sistine Chapel, and the result is remarkable.
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From Studioli to Medici Portraits
Some smaller rooms have been arranged like “studioli”, the small studies typical of the Renaissance , where intellectuals kept their books and collected precious and rare objects. Here paintings of smaller dimensions are displayed, with religious and mythological subjects.
The new rooms host great collections of Venetian paintings, including masterpieces by notable exponents of the Venetian school such as Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese, who started with a Mannerist style and later developed a naturalist style inspired by Titian.
There are several portraits, including the ones of the Medici family, who ruled over Florence for three centuries. We find Cosimo the Elder by Pontormo, and Lorenzo the Magnificent portrayed by Giorgio Vasari, whose life was strictly linked to the Uffizi. It was Vasari who designed the Uffizi and the Vasari Corridor for his patron Grand Duke Cosimo I.
Florentine master Agnolo Bronzino portrayed Cosimo I in full armour and his wife Eleonora di Toledo sumptuously dressed and posing with her son. This is one of his most famous works, and a perfect example of Mannerist portraiture.
In these new rooms, everything has been thought through down to the smallest details, including the wall painted with historically accurate natural colours. New seats have been arranged to allow visitors to enjoy the new spaces with more comfort. Schimdt has announced that the next bit of restoration work will involve the self-portraits.