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Nascita di Venere - Botticelli

All visitors to the Uffizi Gallery should expect to see some form of nudity or other in the classical Roman and Greek sculptures as well as paintings, from Botticelli’s Birth of Venus to Titian’s Venus of Urbino.

This past Saturday, visitors to the Uffizi got an unexpected display of nudity, inspired precisely by Botticell’s masterpiece. A 25-year old Spaniard, in front of Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus“, quickly striped naked and proceeded to kneel and drop rose petals in front of the painting while exclaiming “Es arte, es poesia” – “it’s art, it’s poetry”!

The Uffizi Gallery director, Antonio Natali, commented: “Yes, I was told of what happened. What can I say? In a million and 900 hundred visitors a year, there are people who are disturbed, restless, passionate… and he must have suffered the syndrome of Adam….”. The director jokes as there was no damage and the custodians were quick to intervene.

The young man was calm as he dressed again and as he was accompanied out of the museum by local police. He was charged with indecent public exposure.

amorino

As part of the celebrations in commemoration of the 450th year since Michelangelo’s death, the Uffizi has opened up 2 more rooms under renovation for the last year as part of the New Uffizi project today February 17. A much more enjoyable way for all who visit the Uffizi to celebrate over a one-day commemorative event.

20140217-143810.jpgThe two new rooms, 33 and 34 located right before hall 35 dedicated to Michelangelo, contain sculptures selected to highlight the works of classical antiquity that influenced Michelangelo’s formation as an artist. The rooms, which used to house works by 16th century Tuscan and Lombard painters before restoration, have changed dramatically. The first, 33, is dedicated to Greek Portraits while the second houses works that evoke those classical figures present in the San Marco Garden owned by the Medici where the very young Michelangelo at 13 years old studied classical sculpture.

The green used for the walls of the two rooms was inspired by the green backgrounds often used in Paolo Uccello’s work in the 15th century and serves as a sharp contrast with the white marble sculptures. In comparison to the statues presents in the Corridors of the Uffizi, this background invites viewers to stop and study the features, frowns, noses and expressions of the people and scenes portrayed. There are no cords that set you away from the sculptures in Room 33 so you can go right up to explore them from various angles.

classical-san-marco

These classical works inspired artists – and the Medici themselves – of the Renaissance as models of perfection and character in the neoclassical era. The Garden of San Marco, in particular, created by Lorenzo de Medici and dotted with statues, portraits, sarcophagi and more was set to inspire the sculptors of the time to relearn what the ancient Greeks were capable of doing and to replicate that skill. Room 34 houses that type of work that led to Michelangelo’s great sculptural masterpieces which today can be admired at the Galleria dell’Accademia with his David, Prisoners and St. Matthew, his Baccus at the Bargello and his magnificent sculptures in the New Sacristy within the Medici Chapels.

san-marco-bas-reliefs

uffizi-burial-remains

As work continues on the New Uffizi project, workers came upon human remains under the reading room of the Uffizi Library, right next to the Piazza del Grano. Over the last few months, scientists on the now archaeological site have determined there are about 60 skeletons from the 5th-6th century.

The findings reveal an important era of the city’s history, in the late Roman period when this area what located outside of the Roman city walls and continuously flooded by the river. Up to now, research had never revealed that the area has been lived on, actually it was often used as a dumping ground as pieces of construction material were the only things found when any type of digging went on (at higher levels). It might have been the growth of this material itself which made the earth in this area grow, when memory of the burial ground had been forgotten.

remains-uffizi-libraryWhat the new findings indicate is that the area was used as an emergency burial place, likely as a result of an epidemic in the town. The way the skeletons are unevenly positioned, here and there with feet next to heads and very close to each other indicate they were done in a hurry and sought to make the most of the space available. Scientists thus believe it must have been a summertime epidemic, when the river was low and this area was revealed, soft with the river sediments deposited during the winter months when rain elevated the river.

Studies will continue and hopefully reveal more about the actual cause of death and offer new ideas of what life must have been like in the Florence of many centuries ago. What we do know is that when Vasari constructed his Uffizi in this area he had most of the late medieval buildings destroyed, traces of which have also been found as work on the New Uffizi continues.

veronese

Starting February 11 and running until April 29, 2014, if you visit the Uffizi Gallery on a Tuesday you can also add on a special, free guided visit to the extraordinary Contini Bonacossi Collection.

You do need to reserve your spot, as the guided visits of an hour long are limited to a maximum of 25 people. Visits are only planned for Tuesdays at 10:30am and 3pm.

To book, call Firenze Musei at 055.294883 and plan on visiting the museum before you access the Contini Bonacossi collection, as it is in a separate building. The spot for meeting the group is by the “Sala Divani” between the entrance to the Blue Rooms and the elevators on the first floor which is toward the end of the itinerary of visiting the Uffizi Gallery.

Please note: If you plan to take advantage of this free guided visit, by calling Firenze Musei you book your ticket to the Uffizi Gallery as well so there is no need to purchase separate tickets online.

The Vasari Corridor

Special opening of the Vasari Corridor was just announced starting from February 7 (tomorrow!) through April 30 with 6 openings every week.

Guided visits will include entry ticket and booking fees to the Uffizi Gallery but do not include the visit to the Uffizi, just the corridor.

Visits are for Wednesdays at 2:30pm and 3pm, Thursdays at 10;30am and 11am and Fridays at 2:30pm and 3pm. Each group will be limited to 25 people and the visit lasts about 75 minutes, with exit at the Boboli Gardens.

To reserve your visit, you need to call Firenze Musei at +39-055-294-883, it is the only way to access these visits. Don’t delay, spots are going to be reserved fast!

Note: If you don’t get access to the Corridor through these times, remember you can still visit the Corridor at other times with external tour agencies.

New Michelangelo Hall 35

The Polo Museale released numbers last week of visits to the various museums in Florence.

The Uffizi saw an increase of almost 6% from 2012, with a total of 1,875,176 visitors in 2013.

The months of October, December, August and May were the months with the most growth, with increases of over 10% in numbers of total visitors, while the remaining months all saw smaller increases.

As the New Uffizi project continues, the museum hopes to be able to continue improving its services to all visitors so that all those that come to Florence and to the Uffizi are satisfied with their visit. In the meantime, please remember that the museum still has several ongoing renovation projects designed to bring the Uffizi to modern standards.

baroncelli

The exhibition TURNABOUT. The hidden side of the collections, from December 17, 2013 to February 2 , 2014, will reveal through forty works the stories contained in the rear which are almost never visible from the side we most commonly see them.

You will find amazing discoveries as other paintings, sketches, drafts of paintings, poems, handwritten notes, numbers of old inventories, tags for exhibits or certificates of ownership and much more are revealed in this interesting temporary exhibit at the Sala delle Poste Reali of the Uffizi.

luigi-russolo

The exhibition, conceived by the Uffizi Gallery, organized by the Friends of the Uffizi and curated by Giovanna Giusti with the contribution of the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, is part of the cycle “Never Seen Before” which every December presents pieces of the collections of the Florentine museum little known to the general public.

“I think it’s an amazing way to end a historic year for the Friends of the Uffizi,” declared president of the Friends of the Uffizi Maria Vittoria Rimbotti. For our twenty years of life we offer to the city a masterpiece by Bill Viola, one of the greatest artists on a global level, and the new appointment with the “Never Been Seen” that enhances and presents some of the treasures that the Uffizi Gallery preserves.”

“With this selection of works,” says Giovanna Giusti, curator of the exhibition, “the curious visitor will be involved with the “two-faced visibility” which is generally just reserved for “insiders” so that together with paintings, sculptures and furniture of the highest quality, even mysterious numbers crossed out, once deciphered, will reveal their important contribution in clarifying the path of the collection of the works.”

The exhibition Turnabout, consisting of paintings, antique marbles, tiles, a cabinet and an altar, offers a double vision of the works, presenting the front and back. The signs that these masterpieces often hide in areas not visible to the public will be able to speak to us about their lives and their journey through the collections.

For example, among the works from the 15th century, the scene of the Annunciation is painted on the back of the boards of the noble portraits of the Baroncelli, while in the Triptych Froment, who in the severity of Alps culture presents episodes from the life of Christ, culminating at the center in the resurrection of Lazarus, the doors once closed, present the Madonna and Child along with the patrons of the work.

altar

There is even a travel altar, closed within a precious trunk which was used in the Medici court. That and a cabinet from the 19th century offer several surprises.

In addition pieces from the Uffizi’s collections, the exhibition will also host works on loan from the Palatine Gallery, the Bargello Museum, the Gallery of Modern Art in Palazzo Pitti, the Medici Villa of Petraia and Opificio delle Pietre Dure.

TURNABOUT. The hidden side of the collections
Uffizi Gallery – Sala delle Reali Poste
December 17, 2013 – February 2, 2014
Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday , hours 10:00 to 17:00
Free admission

Self-Portrait of Bill Viola

A new work by Bill Viola, entitled Self Portrait, Submerged will be shown at the Uffizi in the ex-church of San Piero Scheraggio, starting next week from December 16th – 22nd. The animated work depicts the artist immersed underwater in a state of peace, with subtle animation as ripples pass across his body.

After December 22nd, the work will be moved to the Vasari Corridor as a part of the Uffizi’s permanent self-portrait collection which includes some of the most famous masters of painting from the 16th to the 20th century, including, Filippo Lippi, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Delacroix and Ensor.

The non-profit organization, Amici degli Uffizi, secured the acquisition of this work with sponsorship from the Friends of the Uffizi. The association promotes cultural and educational activities which enhance public awareness and appreciation of the Uffizi Gallery, and have also played a fundamental role in opening the museum’s collection to contemporary art.

BILL VIOLA. Self portrait – Submerged
Uffizi Gallery – ex church of San Pier Scheraggio
December 17 – 22, 2013
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
Free entrance

New Yellow Rooms at Uffizi

As the New Uffizi project moves forward, we are happy to share with you the official opening of 6 new halls today which are dedicated to Florentine artists from the 17th century.

After the opening of the 10 “Blue Rooms” dedicated to foreign artists in December 2011, the nine “Red Rooms” in June 2012 and six rooms in June 2013 dedicated to modern Mannerism, this latest opening of six “Yellow Rooms” numbered 95 to 100 marks an important stage in the completion of the work of the New Uffizi project. All of these new halls mark the renovation and renewal of the first floor Western wing of the Vasari complex with updated climate control and security measures.

detail-restored-painting

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Map of the Uffizi by Touch Tour

Since 2009, the Uffizi has offered visitors with vision impairment and disabilities the possibility to visit the museum following a special itinerary called the “Uffizi Touch Tour” where they can make use of their sense of touch to “see” works of art. The itinerary permits visitors to touch select pieces of sculpture (with latex gloves on) and a bas-relief of Sandro Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” especially created for the itinerary.

The Hall of the Horse

The number of works included in the itinerary has just been expanded from 14 to 27 pieces and was presented today, which marks the International Day of People with Disabilities.

The itinerary crosses the museum’s second floor, and includes beautiful works of Roman sculpture including the Hermaphroditus and Sleeping Cupid, said to have inspired Michelangelo in creating a copy of his own. The newly expanded itinerary then heads down to the ground floor to the Hall of the Horse where visitors can continue their exploration of a giant, marble horse which gives the hall its name, as well as the head of Mitra, the Altar of the Vicomagistri and a bust of Cicero, to name just a few of the works on display here. The hall, opened today exclusively for visitors of the tour, can also be reached from the Loggia of the Uffizi and permits its visitors to touch the sculptures in complete independence.

For more information on the tour, please read Uffizi by Touch Tour.

Fragment of sculpture with head of Mitra

Fragment of sculpture with head of Mitra