Treasures of the Uffizi

by Laura German

On Thursday we visited the Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy. The Uffizi Museum is considered Italy’s greatest art gallery. It contains the world’s greatest collection of Italian Renaissance paintings collected by the Medici family. Along with Italian Renaissance, the collection consists of paintings from Germany, Spain and Holland. The collection was first brought to the Uffizi Museum in 1581. Eventually Anna Maria Lodovica, the last of the direct Medici line, bequeathed the amazing collection to the Florence citizens for their forever enjoyment.

The representation of artists in this museum is truly unbelievable. The museum’s rooms are basically numbered in chronological order. The room number 1 begins with art work from 13th century artists such as Giotto, Duccio and Cimabue. They are considered Gothic artists. As the rooms progress, the time period in history progresses as well. Next is Early Renaissance from the 15th century. The works of Botticelli, Filippo Lippi and Paolo Uccello adorn the rooms in this particular timeframe. Room 15 begins the High Renaissance and Mannerism styles. Leonardo da Vinci makes his appearance in this room with his version of The Annunciation (1472-5). The rooms 19-23 go beyond this era and contain a variety of artists from outside of the Tuscan region. The artists represented here are German, Flemish as well as from northern Italy. Some of the notable names are Bellini, Mantegna, Carpaccio and Correggio.

The Tuscan presence returns in rooms 25-29 and is graced with masterpieces from Raphael and Michelangelo. Michelangelo’s painting The Holy Family, also referred to as the Doni Tondo, hangs in room 25 and is one of my all-time favorites. It was created from 1506- 1507. The painting was commissioned by Agnolo Doni to celebrate his marriage to Maddalena Strozzi. The word “tondo” means “round.” The round shape of the painting is typically used to commemorate an event. This particular painting has a very fascinating history. During World War II the Nazi Army looted and stole many works of art that were then destroyed, causing a major loss. Luckily, the Doni Tondo was removed from the Uffizi Gallery before it could be taken. It was kept protected in the Medici villa of Poggio a Caiano and then Castello di Poppi, or Poppi Castle. Today, it is the only painting by Michelangelo remaining in Florence. The last range of rooms, 30-45 have an amazing sampling of artists from the 17th century. Rubens and Van Dyck make an appearance in this area, but the best-known artist here is Rembrandt with his Portrait of an Old Man (1665) and two self-portraits.

I feel the Uffizi Museum is a must-see when in Florence. It represents Italian art in such a way that keeps the visitor captivated and wanting more. And if all that was not enough to look at, make sure to look up. Throughout the entire building the ceilings are adorned with works of art that are truly awe inspiring.

I feel very fortunate to be able to participate in such a fantastic opportunity. The Study Abroad in Italy class is extremely worthwhile and has given me a better appreciation for Florence and all that It has to offer. I have developed excellent relationships with not only my classmates, but with a beautiful city that will last a lifetime.




One thought on “Treasures of the Uffizi

  1. It seems you are extremely enthused about the Uffizi Museum and indeed Florence. I really loved the last paragraph of your entry, it speaks highly of your maturity. When I was studying unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to study abroad as you have, I truly wish I had. I suppose the opportunities were not as frequent back then (oops, sounding jealous here 🙂 )

    Enjoy Florence, enjoy Italy, enjoy your studies and importantly enjoy life.

    ~ Christine (alumnae)
    now involved with the Tree of Life in the online space

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