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Uffizi - This is one of the few museums in the world that has such a rich and impressive collection grouped in one place, which makes it possible to organize a variety of thematic and historical routes that are inherently alternative to the usual way of organizing visits to galleries. Routes, thanks to which, on the example of famous monuments of art, you can trace the most important historical events.
The gallery, which today is considered an integral stage in the development of the art of the Western world, appeared at one of the most significant moments in history - in the era of the highest dawn Florence Renaissance by the will of Archduke Duc Cosimo I de Medici.
The Uffizi building was intended to house state institutions, and was to become a new and modern administrative center symbolizing the ducal authority. In this regard, the building was planned to be located next to the Palazzo Vecchio, which meanwhile, from a municipal building turned into a luxurious Herz-ducal palace.
“I never had to work on the construction of a building whose construction was so complicated and dangerous, since it was laid on the banks of the river, and almost in the air,” the architect wrote with pride Giorgio VasariCosimo I entrusted with the construction.
Time began work on the grand Uffizi building - 1560. The architectural ensemble, made in the shape of a horseshoe, and consists of two buildings parallel to each other, connected by a Serlian loggia with a picturesque view of Arno. The light-floored Piazza della Signoria, and the brownish-golden rusticated blocks of the Palazzo Vecchio, go into this closed complex, distinguished by its simplicity and grace, the architectural solution of which Vasari developed addressing the ideas of his beloved Michelangelo.
The new, multifunctional center of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany occupied three floors. On the top floor, in the western corridor, Cosimo I wished to host numerous Florentine art craft workshops ateliers. On the lower floors, there were 13 Florentine departments, whose doors looked onto the square, as today inscriptions and symbols testify, taming the longitudinal beams.
An old mint adjoined the western wing of the complex, where gold and silver florins were minted, which at that time were in greatest demand in Europe due to their stable weight and cost. In the niches of the pilgrimage of the portico, it was supposed to place various sculptures according to the traditions popular in Florence, which have already been reflected in the nearby church of Orsanmichele. The statues were supposed to represent famous people in order to revive the greatness of the ancient forum of Emperor Augustus. But only in the middle of the 19th century 28 statues were placed in the empty niches of Vasari, which from Giotto to Galileo and from Machiavelli to Michelangelo were called upon to praise the Tuscan genius for centuries.
To decorate the monumental portals and ribs of the whole complex, alternating with white Florentine plaster was chosen gray stonebrought from a quarry in the Menzola Valley, so valuable that it could be obtained under a special license from the ruler.
Uffizi, became one of the few buildings for which the external walls were lined with this type of stone, which was usually intended to decorate interiors and courtyards.
In 1565, on the occasion of the wedding of the son of Francesco Joanna of Austria, Cosimo I instructs Vasari to build a secret corridor so that the prince can leave the royal palace and go through the city without an escort of a military motorcade. An almost 1 km long passage has been laid for several months. This amazing Vasari corridor walked along the Uffizi building, then over the workshops of Ponte Vecchio through Arno, and disappeared among the houses and palaces. The exit from the corridor was in one of the grottoes of the Boboli Gardens outside the gates of the city.
When Francesco I founded the first part of the gallery in 1581, transferring the most valuable objects of the family art collection to it, the premises on the top floor were converted into exhibition halls, which could be accessed only through the private entrances of the Palazzo Vecchio.
Noble Staircase Vasariconsisting of 126 steps of gray stone, led only to the second floor of the complex and ended in the lobby of the Medechi court theater. From the ancient court theater erected by Bernardo Buontalenti in 1585, the ancient marble portal at the entrance to the current cabinet of drawings and engravings, and three doors leading to the vault opposite the staircase are preserved on the landing.
Above the central door rises a bust of Francesca I, representing the coat of arms of the Medici family - Florentine lilies, the emblem of the prince, laurel and his zodiac sign Aries. On this floor there is an office of drawings and engravings that began in the 17th century on the initiative of Cardinal Leopold de Medici. In these rooms is one of the most important collections of graphic art.
When, in the 18th century, the Lorraine came to power, Peter Leopold decided to create a new entrance to the gallery, which, in accordance with new educational ideas, was finally open to the city, so it was decided to continue the Vasari staircase so that visitors could enter the museum.
Above the entrance door to the gallery is a bust of Peter Leopold the enlightened prince, with an inscription dedicated to the founder of one of the first in the modern understanding of museums of Western history. In the corridors of the gallery collected many Roman statues, which became the subject of an enthusiastic study of the restoration already in the Renaissance. The gradually expanding collection of the 15th century antiquities, precious stones, medals, coins, valuable vases from various sources between the 16th and 17th centuries was replenished with an unusual collection of antique statues belonging to the Medici family.
Today, the exhibits are placed on the principle of the original arrangement proposed by Archduke Francesco I. At the beginning of the first corridor is one of the great masterpieces of ancient art presented in the museum - Hercules and the centaur - a valuable copy of Roman time, from the bronze original of the work of the ancient Greek sculptor Lysippus.
The vaults of the three corridors are painted with a fresco with a fanciful ornament, the so-called grotesques depicting allegorical, mythological and fantastic scenes. The cycle originates from the most skilled and remarkable for its decorative grace grotesques written by Alessandro Allory and his assistants in 1581. The route ends with a collection of portraits.