The 5 Salette Rooms Reopen at the Uffizi Today
Visitors to the Uffizi this morning might not have known as they visited but the five rooms (halls 19-23) that immediately follow the Tribune have just been re-opened today after an extensive renovation.
The five rooms, called the “salette” in Italian, are now dedicated to masterpieces from Italian artists from the early Renaissance in the 15th century. There are works by Sienese artists in the first room, Hall 19, including a beautiful Madonna in Throne with Saints by Vecchietta. The next hall, Hall 20, is dedicated to Mantegna, Bellini and Antonello da Messina where you will, among others, admire a beautiful Madonna of the Cave by Mantegna set on a light green background panel. Hall 21 is dedicated to Venetian painters, including works by Giovan Francesco Caroto and Cima da Conegliano while Hall 22 is dedicated to painters from Emilia Romagna and the last hall, 23, is dedicated to painters from Lombardy.
The new rooms host a total of 44 works, 12 of which are paintings that have been chosen from the large deposit of works owned by the Uffizi Gallery but which were not on display before.
Among the most beautiful works of art on display are the ceilings, whose “grottesque” decorations by Lodovico Buti date back to 1588. The rooms, from the end of the 16th century up until 1775, housed the Medici Armory. The ceilings of the first two rooms were completely redone in the middle of the 17th century but the other 3 still contain their original designs which include scenes of battles and other armory-related scenes. The armory was in part moved to the Fortezza da Basso, in part dismembered and sold in 1780 when Pietro Leopoldo added the rooms to the museum. Only then did the rooms host paintings by Flemish artists such as Rubens and Rembrandt, designs by Raffaello and prints by Dürer. The prints and designs through the years were moved, while the paintings continued to be displayed here up until the rooms were closed for renovations last year. Many of the paintings have moved or will be soon on display in other of the new rooms opening up at the Uffizi.
Some of the decorations on the ceiling of hall 21 was destroyed during the bombing of the streets and bridges along the Arno river by the Germans in 1944. In memory of this event and based on a design by Vittorio Granchi, a new mural painting was made in this spot representing the area after its destruction, with the date “August 1944”. Make a note so you can look for it yourself!
The rooms are part of the most ancient section of the Gallery. After the Tribune, these are the first rooms in this area to be entirely modernized, thus beginning the most challenging aspect of the New Uffizi project: renovating the main nucleus of the museum without ever closing the entire museum to the public.
The air conditioning systems are brand new, with integrated humidifiers, while the entire electrical and lighting systems were redone, taking advantage of new LED technology for both direct and indirect lighting, and new security alarm systems are in place.
The photographs here are just a taste of the new rooms: we hope you can enjoy them in person soon!