Tribuna Restored

As part of the years long process called the "Nuovi Uffizi" the Tribuna, the late 16th century octogonal parlor by Buontalenti built for Francesco I de' Medici as a gallery, has been completely restored and is now re-opened (the work was actually finished in 2012 and took over 3 years with funding coming from the non-profit group Friends of Florence).

Unfortunately this means that you can no longer walk through the room, but must just look in from three of the openings that are protected by a thick glass barrier that goes up to about chest high.

It isn't terrible, but being in the room was quite an experience. Everything in the room has been restored and cleaned, all the architecture, as well as all the sculptures and paintings. It is quite a slice of art history and looks fantastic and should for decades to come. Of course photos are not allowed inside of the Uffizi but someone managed to get this one to us:

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This room was a highlight of the "Grand Tour", and the Medici Venus in the center was arguably the most famous (and one of the most copied) Venus sculpture known before eventually being eclipsed by the Venus de Milo.

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To mark the 300th anniversary of the death of Grand Prince Ferdinando de' Medici (1663-1713), the Galleria degli Uffizi is planning to devote a celebratory exhibition to this key figure who was one of the most important collectors and patrons of the arts in the entire history of the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany.

The son of Cosimo III and of Marguerite-Louise d'Orléans, Ferdinando nurtured two overriding interests, in the theatre and music and in the figurative arts, from a very early age.

The exhibition sets out to convey the complexity of his interests and the innovative nature of his approach which drew the leading artists of the era (musicians, instrumentalists, painters and sculptors) to Florence between the end of the 17th century and the first decade of the 18th.

The exhibition is broken down into sections illustrating the complex issues surrounding the prince's cultural inclinations, while also presenting the buildings in which his patronage was played out.

June 26 - November 3, 2013

Admission
Full price: € 11.00;
Concessions: € 5.50 for EU citizens aged 18 to 25
Admission free under 18
Admission free for EU citizens over 65

Opening hours
Tuesdays - Sundays 8:15 am to 6:50 pm, ticket office closes at 6:00 pm
Through September 24, on Tuesdays 8:15 am to 10:00 pm
The Uffizi is closed on Mondays!

More information on this exhibit can be found at the following links:

http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/en/mostre/mostra.php?t=51c03f74f1c3bcfc1c000104

http://www.unannoadarte.it/granprincipe/eng/index.html

Florence to commemorate 1993 Uffizi bombing this Sunday

This coming Sunday will mark the 20th anniversary of the Uffizi bombing. The city and the museum will commemorate this event and pay respect to the five people who died in the bomb with extended hours and free admission this Sunday.

The excellent SACI art blog has more details.

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Rembrandt through Morandi's eyes

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From 12/18/2012 until 03/18/2013

Guardare Rembrandt con gli occhi di Morandi per capire il segreto della loro lontanante vicinanza: questo l'intento della prossima mostra al Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, dove la visione delle opere sarà esaltata dal nuovo impianto di illuminazione.

Che Morandi, proprio agli inizi della sua formazione autodidattica come incisore, si fosse interessato a Rembrandt è risaputo. Nella sua biblioteca non mancavano pubblicazioni sull'artista olandese, mentre nella collezione figuravano almeno cinque incisioni. Morandi, dunque, deve aver tenuto sotto gli occhi a lungo quegli autentici capolavori di bravura tecnica tesi a descrivere la complessa ricchezza della realtà fenomenologica, ma poi, quando si risolse a incidere, parve, con un colpo d'ala improvviso, liberarsene: all'opulenza tecnica e descrittiva di Rembrandt oppose l'estrema rarefazione della "sua" natura, rinunciando a ogni complicata commissione di acquaforte, puntasecca e bulino per puntare quasi esclusivamente, dopo le sperimentazioni tecniche degli anni fra il 1921 e il 1923, sulle acqueforti.

Lamberto Vitali, che nel 1957 dedicò all'opera grafica di Morandi una monografia ancora oggi fondamentale, parla, in effetti, di un momento rembrandtiano, cui appartengono soprattutto stampe dei primi anni Venti. Ma l'accostarsi di Giorgio Morandi a Rembrandt segue le strade, più nascoste e impervie, dell'emulazione, piuttosto che quelle, più ostentate e scontate, dell'imitazione e, per certi versi, ci ricorda il cammino sapientemente imboccato dal maestro olandese in direzione delle incisioni di Lucas van Leyden e di Dürer.
Il punto di incontro con Rembrandt, Morandi lo rintraccia, infatti, soprattutto sul piano della verità del segno, che non vuol dire ricerca di una vicinanza iconografica, stilistica o morale, ma emulazione delle potenzialità espressive della linea incisa.

L'unica volta che si ispirava a Rembrandt anche dal punto di vista iconografico, con la sua Conchiglia del 1921, Morandi lo farà emulando (non copiando) la sola natura morta dovuta all'olandese, quel conus marmoreus del 1650, che per la sapiente "ricreazione" dell'artista pare cambiare pelle e dal mondo dei naturalia trasmigrare in quello degli artificialia.
Morandi stesso, nella nota intervista rilasciata al Prof. Mangravite il 25 aprile del 1957 per "Voice of America", aveva asserito: "Per me non vi è nulla, cioè ritengo che non vi sia nulla di più surreale e nulla di più astratto del reale".

This was just announced by the Polo Museale Fiorentino (the Uffizi will be closed on New Year's day as usual).

Since Christmas Eve will be on Monday when the museums are usually closed the Uffizi and Accademia will be open from 8:15 AM to 6 PM. They will join the other museums, salons and villas normally open on the fourth Monday of each month: the Silver Museum and the Costume Gallery in the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens, the Medici Chapels, Palazzo Davanzati, Orsanmichele, Ghirlandaio's Last Supper and the Medici villas at Petraia, Castello, Poggio a Caiano and Cerreto Guidi.

On New Year's Eve, December 31, which also falls on a Monday this year, the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery will be open exceptionally from from 8:15 AM to 6 PM. To these are added the Bargello Museum, The museum of San Marco, Orsanmichele (which is only open on Mondays), the Convent of Santa Apollonia, and the Medici villas at Petraia, Castello, Poggio a Caiano and Cerreto Guidi.

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Fine article in the Financial Times by Rachel Spence about the current show at the Uffizi - Bagliori Dorati or "The Gleam of Gold":

There are artists who seduce and artists who stun. Gentile da Fabriano was of the latter camp. Commissioned in 1423 by the Florentine merchant and banker Palla Strozzi to create an altarpiece for his family chapel, the Umbrian-born painter saw it as a a golden opportunity to flaunt his talent as draftsman, storyteller and decorator extraordinaire.


Into one canvas, "The Adoration of the Magi", he crams a fairytale world of castles, mountains, gardens and exotic animals including a monkey perched on the back of a camel. Such melodrama would overwhelm the sacred story in the foreground did its characters not glitter in robes and halos of unbridled sumptuousness. A highlight of the Uffizi Gallery's permanent collection, "The Adoration" is one of the touchstones of International Gothic, the artistic style at the heart of this new exhibition.

Read the whole thing: Bagliori Dorati: International Gothic in Florence 1375-1440, Uffizi Galleries, Florence. There is more information here. Until November 4th.

Faces Unveiled

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From 15 December 2011 to 29 January 2012, in the Sala delle Reali Poste, the Uffizi hosts the eleventh edition of the "Never Seen Before" cycle with the Faces Unveiled exhibition, organised and promoted by the Friends of the Uffizi (responsible for the major contribution made for the restorations carried out for the occasion) in liaison with the Uffizi Gallery.

Curated by Fabrizio Paolucci, Director of the Department of Classical Antiquities at the Uffizi Gallery, and Valentina Conticelli, Director of the Eighteenth-century Art Department at the Uffizi Gallery, the exhibition celebrates this new appointment of the Never Seen Before by restoring to public enjoyment a central segment of the collection of classical sculptures belonging to the grand-ducal collections: that of the portraits of emperors and private citizens which have always been displayed at intervals along the corridors of the exhibition itinerary.

The exhibition brings back to light and allows the public to view 44 busts composing the series of the "Caesars in marble", the finest and most important portraits of the unseen collection of the Uffizi. Presented alongside the selection of busts are 23 works (paintings and drawings), portraits and self-portraits that illustrate how great the interest in the antique was among the artists, while at the same time also revealing direct references to the heads themselves.

Vasari Corridor 2012 Openings Announced

The Vasari Corridor will be open this year - at least this winter and spring, as just announced on the official website of the Uffizi.

You can find more information, details, and options in English on Florence-On-Line (the Uffizi has yet to upload an English version and their page is "Under Construction as we write): Vasari Corridor Reservations and Tickets.

Vasari, the Uffizi and the Duke

The exhibit has been extended until January 8th - there is a review of the exhibit from the Financial Times here.

On the fifth centenary of the birth of Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), this exhibition is devoted to the foundation of the Uffizi (1559-1560): more than a building, an architectural system on urban scale that emerged from the close collaboration between the Duke, Cosimo I de' Medici, and Vasari, his favourite artist. Standing in the heart of the city, where it reflects the absolutist and centralising policy of Cosimo I, the complex was designed to bring together the administrative institutions of government, the so-called Magistrature and the Guilds, subjecting them - logistically and symbolically - to the direct rule of the young Duke.

The memory of this original destination lives on in the name of the Uffizi, literally "offices". The ingenious versatility of the Arezzo-born Vasari was displayed in his capacity to give spatial form and architectural conviction to his commissioner's political programme and desire for self-representation. The building is in fact an emblematic fragment of a new city, sealing into a single organism the two ducal residences of Palazzo Vecchio (the seat of government) and the Pitti Palace beyond the Arno, impressing upon the city the physical presence of Power in the shape of architecture.

The long colonnaded piazza of the Uffizi also functions as an authentic open-air antechamber leading into both Piazza della Signoria, with its whirl of statues celebrating the Duke, and into Palazzo Vecchio where the rooms renovated and redecorated by Vasari celebrate the apotheosis of Cosimo and his dynasty. The architectural structure of the Uffizi, which was without paragon in the sixteenth-century world and was destined to become a model, was crowned at the top by a long loggia which, when construction was complete, came to house precious antique statues from the Medici collections. This secondary and almost incidental use then developed over the centuries into the collection and display functions that now characterise the Uffizi, the epitome of the art museum.

The exhibition, which takes as its cue the personalities of the protagonists - the Duke and his artist - starts by training the spotlight on the urban layout of the area between Palazzo Vecchio and the Arno prior to the construction of the Uffizi; it then goes on to illustrate the phases of design and construction of the complex, which was the most extensive and most demanding building site of sixteenth-century Florence. The spatial and figurative connotations of the monumental complex are underscored, comprising the wooden doors of the Magistrates' offices.

The formal and typological elements drew inspiration from the antique Roman architecture well known to Vasari and to the erudite humanists of his circle, including Paolo Giovio and Vincenzo Borghini, but also from the contemporary architecture of both Venice and Rome, where the artist had frequently sojourned. The highly-organised building site, masterfully controlled by the military architect Bernardo Puccini, is evoked here by the working tools of the time, alongside finds only recently discovered after having been buried for centuries in the infill of the vaults. Beyond all this, the Uffizi was also the mature fruit of an exuberant artistic milieu polarised by the court, looming over which was the terrible magnificence of the genius of Michelangelo. Gravitating around it were lead roles and supporting players: Pierfrancesco Riccio, major-domo to the Duke, Luca Martini, Cosimo Bartoli and Benedetto Varchi, who are also evoked in the exhibition.

This was a competitive ambience, which held aloof from and challenged Vasari as a provincial from Arezzo, up to his triumphal entry into the service of the Duke in 1554. These two phases of rejection and acceptance are illustrated in the exhibition by the works of the artists who hampered Vasari's admittance and those who fostered it, unfurling a dense artistic and cultural weft that marked the apex of the flowering of the Florentine Renaissance, emblematically illustrated by the legendary pomp of the wedding of Prince Francesco and Joanna of Austria (1565), the inaugural ceremony for the as yet unfinished Uffizi complex.

The artistic consolidation of Vasari, which went hand-in-hand with his political legitimisation, was driven not only by his artistic activity, but also by his work as a historian, boosted by the foundation of the Accademia del Disegno. The two editions of his Lives of the Artists (1550 and 1568), which brought the enterprising provincial a fame that went beyond the confines of the Duchy, are on display alongside his sonnets, letters and drawings, together with the statutes of the Accademia behind which he was the driving force.

How and where to enter the Uffizi Gallery

uffizi-entrance-map.jpgUntil the construction of the "New Uffizi" (but certainly not because of it - this situation has been in place for awhile!) is complete, the following outlines how to enter the Uffizi - if you have a ticket reserved, if you need to buy your tickets, if you are a "Friend of The Uffizi", if you purchased the Firenze Card, etc.

There are 3 doors you need to know about, and they are all on the Piazza degli Uffizi. See the image/map to the right for the layout. They are described in more detail below.

uffizi-door-1.jpgDoor Number 1 is the entrance if you already have a reservation and have picked up your ticket, or are part of a group, tour, school trip, etc. If you are facing the building the left side of the entrance is for groups, and the right side is for individuals, families, etc. This is also the entrance you want to use if you have the Firenze Card in your possession (which means you usually beat any lines also). You should show up here 10 minutes before your timed reservation (who knows why in a country where being late is a perpetual state). You do not need a time with the Firenze Card, but you may have to wait a little bit to enter - I wouldn't think more than 10 minutes or so (this may not be the case in high season, but still any wait here will be shorter than the general admission line).

uffizi-door-2.jpgDoor Number 2 is the main entrance, and also the place where the line starts if you are buying a ticket for that day. The line goes down the arcade toward the Arno. It can be quite a wait. If you ever plan to visit without a reservation or a Firenze Card or Friends of the Uffizi card etc., the best advice is to go later in the day. For most of the year, from Spring until mid-November, there is a line here of some length (in the summer it is hours long), but it is ALWAYS longer in the AM, especially on weekends.

At this same door you will usually see the ropes aligned that allow a small space to enter on the left hand side - this is the office for the Friends of The Uffizi where you can buy the card. Note however that even if some signs say you enter at door number 1 with the Friends of The Uffizi card, I have always had to enter at door number 2 (the guard will allow you to cut the line when you show him your card) and then get a "Free" ticket by showing the card and ID. This is serious - make sure you have picture ID if you plan on using the Friends of The Uffizi card, for adults and children. I had a nasty (and I must say the only one I ever had in Florence) tourism experience here once when someone in the ticket booth seemed to think I was taking the ID request for my children too lightly, which I wasn't. I just had entered with them several times prior and was never asked for their IDs, so when I was and didn't respond formally I was treated rather rudely.

uffizi-door-3.jpgDoor Number 3, which is across the Piazza degli Uffizi on the west side or wing, is where you may pick up your tickets if you have made a prior reservation. They ask you only do this 10 minutes before your reserved entrance time, I guess to try to keep the line down. Another thing to note - there are many, many ways to reserve a timed entrance ticket to the Uffizi - and some of them are just that - reservations (which you pay extra for) and not the ticket itself. So make sure you are prepared depending on who or what service you used. You may have to pay additionally for the ticket if all you paid for upfront was the reservation. Not sure why but I know some tourists that can not get their heads around this fact!

So that is basically it. Things can change, and there are always various paper notes taped to any of these signs on any day, but usually the staff outside of doors 1 and 2 (who usually are not in uniform but have ID around their neck) are very helpful and speak English if you get confused.

The official site for tickets and reservations, sanctioned by the Uffizi, is b-ticket. There have been various reports on other websites of the b-ticket site not working with certain credit cards, etc. but also many more that say it does. You can also call their phone number if you need to. Remember the museum is closed on Mondays all year round.

For guided tours of the Uffizi we suggest browsing the many options on Viator from our sister site Florence Journal - there are several variations and price options.

Please remember that this advice is given for informational purposed only and is subject to change at any time!