I can’t believe it took me two weeks to write my first blog post from Florence!! My Florentine life has been quite busy between my language and history of art classes, as well as daily homework; add in the day-to-day list of errands that are required when setting up a new life and apartment, social plans with my new friends, and that’s mostly how my days are spent!
The other day, I altered my schedule slightly, and went to the Gallerie Degli Uffizi early in the morning (also called the Uffizi Gallery in English). I am lucky enough to have visited the museum twice in the past, so I knew what to expect during my visit this time. The Uffizi is one of the most popularly-visited places in Florence, as its renown collection includes some of the most famous works of Italian Renaissance art in the world! Knowing this, my friends and I decided to meet first thing in the morning when they opened at 8:15. The earlier-than-usual wake up call was totally worth it when we arrived to the museum with almost no one in the queue.
After obtaining our tickets, we climbed up several the many flights of steps it takes to get to the main galleries. Once we caught our breath, it was time to explore! The museum is so wonderfully laid out in a linear timeline of Italian art history. The main galleries begin with Byzantine-styled and pre Renaissance art, and end in the Baroque period. These first galleries are sometimes overlooked or quickly walked through because the works are not by the “rockstar” artists that first come to mind when we think of Italian artists. Nevertheless, there are some incredible gems here that are really key to understanding the progression of Italian art history.
Moving through, we come into the High Renaissance rooms, or the “main attraction”, that holds the most famous paintings in the collection from artists such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Rapheal, Titian, Caravaggio, Lippi, Ghirlandaio, and so many more. One of my favorite paintings in the whole world is the Doni Tondo by Michelangelo. The painting receives its name from the Doni family that commissioned the work, and its circular format, called a tondo. Interesting to know, it is the only painting by Michelangelo in Florence! There are not that many paintings by the master that exist because he primarily thought of himself as a sculptor! It portrays the Holy Family: baby Jesus, his mother Mary, and his stepfather, Saint Joseph surrounded by angels in the background.
(side note – the significance of this painting [besides the subject matter, artist, and family] is so important because it is held in its original frame! It’s a big deal whenever any old painting has an original frame, but because of the reasons I just mentioned, makes it even more incredible. The faces on the frame are representations of the main members of the Doni family)
As expected, Leonardo has his own small room that displays the three works in the Uffizi’s permanent collection. The first is The Baptism of Christ by Vericchio, Leonardo’s master, with one angel painted by Leonardo (the story by Vasari goes that after Leonardo painted the angel, Verocchio saw its perfection and knew his student was more talented than he was, he threw down his paintbrush and never wanted to paint again!) The second painting is the unfinished Adoration of the Magi, and the third (and my favorite) is the Annunciation.
Continuing on into the High Resistance galleries, we ran into two works by Botticelli, that happen to be the most famous works he produced in his lifetime, and are some of the most famous in the entirety of the Uffizi collection: Primavera and The Birth of Venus. By this time, the crowds had fully gathered to admire them, so I was lucky to have gotten the little candid that I did!
I could go on and on and on for much longer about my visit and the museums collection, but for now, I’ll keep it to this. The collection is vast but not enormous. There are so many more works and famous items in these halls, I could go on for hours! If you’re visiting for the first time, I would recommend allotting 1 & 1/2 – 2 hours for your visit (not including wait times in the queue, which can get extremely long!). Since I will be here for the whole summer, I have plenty of time to go back and admire the Mannerist and Baroque galleries … so stay tuned for that visit!
Shop the Look: