The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous museums of paintings and sculpture in the world. Its collection of Primitive and Renaissance paintings comprises several universally acclaimed masterpieces of all time, including works by Giotto, Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Masaccio, Uccello, Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and Caravaggio. German, Dutch and Flemish masters are also well represented with important works by Rembrandt and Rubens.

The collection is arranged chronologically, with rooms themed around periods, individual artists or schools. This enables the visitor to trace the course of art from the thirteenth century, through the roots of the Renaissance, past the greatest flowerings of Florentine art and on through Mannerism and up to the eighteenth century. Along the way you will see some of the greatest masterpieces by history’s greatest artists, many of them working here in Florence. The most beautiful works here include Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera, Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch, and Giotto’s Madonnas.

The Uffizi Gallery occupies the top floor of the large building erected by Giorgio Vasari between 1560 and 1580 to house the administrative offices of the Tuscan State. The Gallery was created by Grand-duke Francesco I and subsequently enriched by various members of the Medici family, who were great collectors of paintings, sculpture and works of art.

The collection was rearranged and enlarged by the Lorraine Grand-dukes, who succeeded the Medici, and finally by the Italian State. It is an extraordinary container of paintings that embrace an historical period from the 1200′s until the days ours, and a geographic space that comprises beyond Italy many European regions. Inside of it knows them finds also one interesting collection of going back ancient statuaria in some cases to III the century a.C., until arriving to the 1800′s.

The first floor of the Uffizi Gallery, the Gabinetto Disegni and Stampe, hosts an exhibition dedicated to Italian design during the Renaissance. This major exhibition features 100 exquisite drawings by Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Verrocchio, to name but a few.

Cream of the collection:

Bacchus, by Caravaggio
Less an awesome deity than a half-drunk adolescent in this early Caravaggio, pallid and woozy, his crown of vine leaves and grapes more comical than pastoral. The grapes in the fruit bowl in front of him are clearly going off: this is one of the first-ever realistic depictions of still life.

Primavera, by Botticelli
This huge work, throbbing with diaphanously clad goddesses, unites many of the classical indicators of spring and fertility, including Venus, Cupid, the Three Graces, Zephyrus and Flora.

The Birth of Venus, by Botticelli
Another large, boldly pagan work in which the goddess of love, having emerged from the deep aboard a shell, arrives on the shore, blown to safety by Zephyrus.

The Duke and Duchess of Urbino, by Piero della Francesca
The striking contrast between the hale and fleshy figure of Federico da Montefeltro and the ghostly pallor of his wife, Battista Sforza, may indicate the painting dates from after her death. Aso famous for the sliced off bridge of the Duke’s nose and his hooded eyes.

The Annunciation, by Leonardo da Vinci
In the courtyard garden of a Florentine villa, the Archangel Gabriel tells Mary that she is to bear Christ. The lily in the angel’s hand is a symbol both of Mary’s virginity and the city of Florence. The angel’s wings were supposedly drawn by Leonardo from a bird, then lengthened by a later hand.

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