The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is without a doubt one of the most incredible collections of art in all the world. Whether an art enthusiast or someone who has barely heard of Michelangelo, a tour of the museum helps to bring the history of Florence, Italy, and all the world to life.
Among the first pieces to greet its guests is the Ognisanti Madonna by Giotto. Giotto’s art was revolutionary in his day. Following his teacher Cimabue, and emulating his techniques, Giotto set the stage for the Renaissance.
After seeing the beginnings of the Renaissance, you will better understand the progression of style and technique that created some of the most exquisite and famous paintings of all time.
It took me several visits to Florence before I finally got to see the Uffizi Gallery and my favorite painting, Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. With tears in my eyes, I hardly even noticed the tourist who stomped my foot trying to get in front of me. This is one of the many reasons I recommend a tour, even if you know the art well.
Full of symbolism and beauty, the painting conveys the moment Venus, born of sea foam arrives on the shore in a shell.
The colors of the sea are breath taking, flowers float in the air. Wind is personified in Zephyr, who blows the shell carrying a modest Venus to shore where she will be clothed.
In the same room, Primavera captivates its spectators, obviously painted by the same artist, Botticelli. Here Venus, the flowers, and figures all represent springtime and rebirth, much like the Renaissance itself.
Further into the museum, a fascinating Michelangelo in its gilded frame could hold one’s gaze for hours. This is the Tondo Doni, a painting of the Holy Family; Mary, and Joseph with Jesus. Michelangelo’s colors, the way he paints the faces, the folds of fabric, motion, expression, light and dark is incredible.
Notice the figures in the background, gathered and posed in a classical style. Your guide will point out to you this Renaissance theme, less obviously present here than in Botticelli’s works, but an important part of the piece.
As the tour continues, you will see Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch, Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Caravaggio’s Bacchus, and countless other masterpieces, each spellbinding.
A good guide will bring this art to life for you. Discovering a favorite painting is much like a favorite city, it cannot be explained. There is a feeling that comes over you when you see it, when you stand in its presence, and you know. What a joy to discover which one will cast its spell!
Contact us to set up a tour.
Lindsay Sinko, PFI Travel, USA