Uffizi Gallery

Vantage Point

  • 07 Oct - 13 Oct, 2017
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Panorama

Home to the world's greatest collection of Italian Renaissance art, Florence's premier gallery occupies the vast U-shaped Palazzo degli Uffizi, built between 1560 and 1580 to house government offices. The collection bequeathed to the city by the Medici family in 1743, contains some of Italy's best-known paintings, including Piero della Francesco's profile portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino and rooms full of masterpieces by Sandro Botticelli. The world-famous collection, displayed in chronological order, spans the gamut of art history from ancient Greek sculpture to 18th-century Venetian paintings. But its core is the Renaissance collection.

Rooms 2 to 7 are dedicated to pre- and-early Renaissance Tuscan art. These clearly reflect the transition from the Gothic to the nascent Renaissance style. Moving into Siena, Bologna and Pisa in the 14th century, the highlight in Room 3 is Simone Martini's shimmering Annunciazione (1333), painted with Lippo Memmi and setting the Madonna in a sea of gold.

Florence's victory over the Sienese at the Battle of San Romano, near Pisa, in 1432, is brought to life with outstanding realism and increased use of perspective in Paolo Uccello's magnificent Battaglia di San Romano in Room 8. In Room 9, Piero della Francesca's famous profile portraits (1465) of the crooked-nosed, red-robed duke and duchess of Urbino are wholly humanist in spirit.

The final rooms in the Primo Corridoio (First Corridor), Rooms 19 to 23, delve into the work of painters in Siena, Venice, Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy in the 15th century.

The first floor galleries display the Uffizi's collection of 16th- to 18th-century works by foreign artists, including Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck. The next room gives a nod to antique sculpture, before moving back into the 16th century with Andrea del Sarto and Räphael whose Madonna del Cardellino steals the show.

As part of the seemingly endless New Uffizi expansion project, four early Florentine works by Leonardo da Vinci are currently displayed in Room 79. Room 90, with its canary-yellow walls, features works by Caravaggio, deemed vulgar at the time for his direct interpretation of reality.