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The Uffizi Gallery (Italian: Galleria degli Uffizi), is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world. It is housed in the Palazzo degli Uffizi which means the "Palace of Offices" in Florence, Italy.
The museum and its history
In 1560, Cosimo I de' Medici, the Duke of Tuscany, ordered a design of new office buildings for the magistrates of Florence. This is why the building is called the "Uffizi" ("offices"). The designer was Giorgio Vasari and the buildings were continued by Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti and finished in 1581.
The offices are in two parts which face each other across a cortyard. One end opens onto the town square and the other opens onto the River Arno. Varsari designed a sort of screen, like a backdrop in an Ancient Greek theatre. It has arches through which the view of the river can be seen.
Duke Cosimo had a plan to arrange that finest works of art in the Medici families' collections on the upper floor. This was not done until the time of Francesco I. He also commissioned Buontalenti to design the most the famous room in the Uffizi, an octagonal room called the Tribune of the Uffizi. This room contained many of the best paintings. Rich people would often send their sons on a Grand Tour of Europe. The Tribune of the Uffizi was one of the important sights on the tour. At first, people could only see the gallery by "request". (They would ask politely and perhaps be shown around.) The last Medici heiress, Anna Maria Lodovica, made an agreement with the city of Florence. In 1765 the Uffizi Gallery was officially opened to the public
The collection of artworks is so large that some of the works are in other museums in Florence. Many of the statues are in the Bargello. Today the Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Florence. In high season (particularly in July), people sometimes have to wait for five hours.
Here are some of the famous paintings:
- Cimabue: The Trinita Madonna
- Duccio: The Rucellai Madona
- Giotto: The Ognissanti Madonna, the Badia Polyptych
- Simone Martini: The Annunciation
- Paolo Uccello: The Battle of San Romano
- Piero della Francesca: Diptych of Duke Federico da Montefeltro and Duchess Battista Sforza of Urbino
- Fra Filippo Lippi: Madonna with Child and Two Angels
- Andrea del Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci:The Baptism of Christ
- Hugo van der Goes: The Portinari Altarpiece
- Sandro Botticelli: Primavera, The Birth of Venus, The Adoration of the Magi and others
- Leonardo da Vinci: The Annunciation, The Adoration of the Magi
- Piero di Cosimo: Perseus liberating Andromeda
- Albrecht Dürer: The Adoration of the Magi
- Michelangelo: The Doni Tondo')
- Raphael: Madonna of the Goldfinch, Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giulio de' Medici and Luigi de' Rossi
- Titian: Flora, Venus of Urbino
- Parmigianino: The Madonna of the Long Neck
- Caravaggio: Bacchus], The Sacrifice of Isaac, Medusa
The collection also contains some famous ancient sculptures, such as the Two Wrestlers.
Titian, Venus of Urbino
Simone Martini, Annunciation
Botticelli, La Primavera (Springtime), c. 1478
Titian, Flora, 1515-1520
Piero della Francesca, Federico de Montefeltro and Battista Sforza
Uccello, Battle of San Romano
Fra Filippo Lippi, Madonna with Angels
Michelangelo, Tondo Doni
Rembrandt van Rijn, self portrait
Raphael, self portrait
Raphael, Madonna of the Goldfinch
Raphael, Portrait of Elisabetta Gonzaga
Raphael, Portrait of Pope Julius II