Saturday, June 14, 2014

134. The crowded Uffizi

Another heat-wave day in Florence - and it was onto a packed not-air-conditioned bus for a 30-minute standing-ride into the city centre for today's outing ...

And a visit to the famed Uffizi Gallery ... one of the most popular tourist attractions of Florence. In high season, waiting times can be up to five hours – but today I got through the security check and ticket office within a record 20 minutes …

 
Much of the exterior of the gallery is under restoration 
so this was the only corner shot I could get ...

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in Europe and the building in which it sits dates back to 1560 - it started out its life for Cosimo I de’ Medici to accommodate the Florentine magistrates, hence the name uffizi, "offices". 

 
 One of the four crowded corridors 
off which open the various treasure-filled galleries ...



Ceiling panel in corridor ...

Over the years, various parts of the palace evolved into a display place for many of the paintings and sculpture collected by the House of Medici - or commissioned by them. After the house of Medici was extinguished, the art treasures remained in Florence by terms of the famous Patto di famiglia negotiated by Anna Maria Luisa, the last Medici heiress; it formed one of the first modern museums. 
 
The gallery had been open to visitors by request since the sixteenth century, and in 1765 it was officially opened to the public.





  
Because of the crowds in the gallery, it was pretty difficult getting close enough to the treasures to really appreciate their beauty - and very difficult to take photographs ... in many cases I was been unable to record titles and artists etc - in fact, most of the time it was get in line, move forward, take your picture then move on to the next masterpiece ... !!!

My apologies to those artists not acknowledged ... but I am sure many viewers will recognize the works by artists such as Giotto, Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt and many other others ... 






Zingarella - Boccaccio Boccaccino
Portrait of a Man - Bernardino de' Conti

Madonna and Child - Botticelli

Birth of Venus - Sandro Botticelli
La Primavera - Sandro Botticelli










 










Self-Portrait - Rembrandt







Portrait of Elisabetta Gonzaga - Raphael



Venus of Urbino - Titian
Medusa - Caravaggio
Bacchus - Caravaggio

 
View of the River Arno and the Ponte Vecchio from the Gallery

In 1993, a car bomb exploded in Via dei Georgofili and damaged parts of the palace, killing five people. The most severe damage was to several classical sculptures and some of the neoclassical interiors – much of which have been restored, although some of the frescoes were damaged beyond repair. The identity of the bomber, or bombers are unknown, although it was almost certainly attributable to the Sicilian Mafia who were engaged in a period of terrorism at that time.

 
How I felt after two hours in the Uffizi ... !!! ...

Then it was back out into the heat and the tourists ..


And after that wonderful fix of Roman, Gothic and Renaissance art all I needed was a god fix of caffeine and sugar to give me strength to continue the day ... revived, I hunted down the Anglo-American Bookshop ( English language book exchange ... ) for some second-hand reading material and onto a beautiful little church for a 'free' hour-long organ recital - bliss ( ... and double bliss, an opportunity to take my shoes off and cool my burning feet on the cold marble floor ... !!! ... ) ...   

In spite of the crowds and the heat in the mostly 'not-air-conditioned' Uffizi, it is a wonderfully moving experience to stand in front of, and to gaze at such beautiful art - my thanks to the Medicis ...