The Uffizi Gallery is the most famous museum in Florence. Its collection of Renaissance paintings, housed in a palace which dates back to the 16th century, is really special and contains works of the most famous painters of the era, including Michelangelo, da Vinci and Botticelli. So, if you are ever visiting Florence, here are ten awesome masterpieces to see in the Uffizi Gallery.
1. The Ognissanti Madonna by Giotto
This altarpiece painted by Giotto in 1310, is a very important landmark in the history of art. It was painted for the Florentine Church of Ognissanti, hence its name.
Before Giotto, the figure of the painting were often stiff, two-dimensional and did not display any emotional involvement with the viewer. Giotto broke the tradition, revolutionizing painting and the representation of the human figure. Without him, there wouldn’t be a Renaissance movement.
2. Portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero della Francesca
The painting of the Dukes of Urbino is one of the most famous art works of the Italian Renaissance. Painted by Piero della Francesca, it shows Federico da Montefeltro and his wife Battista Sforza. The Duke of Montefeltro, leader of mercenaries, skillful strategist and a great patron, turned Urbino into a refined and renowned cultural center. It was there that Piero della Francesca painted this masterpiece between 1465 and 1472.
3. The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello
This incredible painting is a masterpiece because of the fact that Uccello used a bold and experimental perspective which made him famous. This painting is just the central panel of a large triptych painted by Paolo Uccello approximately in 1438, now dispersed and divided between the Uffizi, the National Gallery in London and the Louvre in Paris.
4. La Primavera by Botticelli
This wonderful and famous work of art painted by the great Botticelli was painted for Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici, a cousin of Lorenzo the Magnificent. The Medici was a very important Florentine family and later royal house of Tuscany. The painting was painted between 1477 and 1482.
5. The Birth of Venus by Botticelli
The Birth of Venus is undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous and appreciated works of art at Uffizi. Painted by Sandro Botticelli between 1482 and 1485, it has become a landmark of the fifteen century Italian painting, so rich in meaning and allegorical references to antiquity. The theme is inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a very important masterpiece of the Latin literature.
6. Venus of Urbino by Titian
This incredible work, completed in 1538 for the Duke of Urbino Guidobaldo II Della Rovere, is very interesting with its many hidden meanings. It represents the allegory of marriage and the model in the image is Giulia Varano, the young wife of the Duke. There is an evident eroticism in the painting, in fact, to remind the woman of the marital obligations that she would have to fulfill to her husband.
7. Bacchus by Caravaggio
This painting was a gift for the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand I and it was painted between 1596 and 1597 by Michelangelo Merisi, also known as Caravaggio. His work was strongly influenced by the Lombard and Venetian painting: from which he learned the use of the color and the deep realism and preference for humble and popular subjects.
8. Madonna of the Goldfinch by Raphael
Raphael was strongly influenced by the figure of Leonardo. Raphael was born in Urbino in 1483. His young life was happy and he was loved by everyone. Unfortunately, he died when he was only thirty-seven years old, but he went down to history as the “Divine”.
9. Judith and Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi
Artemisia Gentileschi was an Italian painter, considered as one of the most accomplished and most famous women painters of the 17th century after Caravaggio. In an era when female painters were not easily accepted, she was the first female painter to become a member of the Accademia di Arti del Disegno in Florence. Judith and Holophernes depicts the biblical heorine Judith, a traditional example of vitue and chastity, about to decapitate her Assyrian enemy whom she has tricked while keeping her purity safe.
10. Doni Tondo by Michelangelo
This Holy Family dates back to the time when Michelangelo returned to Florence after his first stay in Rome, the same period when the great artist sculpted the famous David. The work (1506-1508) is the only painting by Michelangelo in Florence and is considered one of the masterpieces of the sixteen century Italian art.