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The Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi, ), is one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world. It's housed in the Palazzo degli Uffizi, a ''palazzo'' in Florence, Italy.


Building of the palace was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de' Medici as the offices for the Florentine magistrates — hence the name "''uffizi''" ("offices"). Construction was continued to Vasari's design by Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti and ended in 1581. The ''cortile'' (internal courtyard) is so long and narrow, and open to the Arno River at its far end through a Doric screen that articulates the space without blocking it, that architectural historians treat it as the first regularized streetscape of Europe. Vasari, a painter as well as architect, emphasized the perspective length by the matching facades' continuous roof cornices, and unbroken cornices between storeys and the three continuous steps on which the palace-fronts stand. The niches in the piers that alternate with columns were filled with sculptures of famous artists in the 19th century.

The Palazzo degli Uffizi brought together under one roof the administrative offices, the Tribunal and the state archive (''Archivio di Stato''). The project that was planned by Cosimo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany to arrange that prime works of art in the Medici collections on the piano nobile was effected by Francis I of Tuscany, who commissioned from Buontalenti the famous Tribuna degli Uffizi that united a selection of the outstanding masterpieces in the collection in an ensemble that was a star attraction of the Grand Tour.

Over the years, further parts of the palace evolved into a display place for many of the paintings and sculpture collected by the Medici family or commissioned by them. According to Vasari, who was not only the architect of the Uffizi but also the author of ''Lives of the Artists'', published in 1550 and 1568, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo gathered at the Uffizi "for beauty, for work and for recreation."

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 Lodovica, 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 its huge collection, some of its works have in the past been transferred to other museums in Florence — for example, some famous statues, to the Bargello. A project is currently underway to expand the museum's exhibition space by 2006 from some 6,000 metres² (64,000ft²) to almost 13,000 metres² (139,000ft²), allowing public viewing of many artworks that have usually been in storage.

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 the Niobe room, the classical sculptures and neoclassical interior of which have been restored, although its 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.

Today the Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Florence. In high season (particularly in July), waiting times can be up to five hours. Visitors who reserve a ticket in advance have a substantially shorter wait.

In the summer 2007, in early August, Florence was caught with a large rainstorm, and the Gallery was partially flooded, with water leaking through the ceiling, and the visitors had to be evacuated.

Popular culture

*The museum is mentioned in chapter XII of Henry James's 1875 novel ''Roderick Hudson''. It is said that, 'There are very fine antiques in the Uffizi.'
*In the E.M. Forster novel ''A Room with a View'', Lucy Honeychurch is carried to "some steps in the Uffizi Arcade" by George Emerson, when she faints after witnessing a murder in the Piazza della Signoria.
*A racetrack of the same name is featured in the game Project Gotham Racing 2 for the Xbox.


Here is only a small selection from the world-class collection of paintings:
* Cimabue (''Maestà'')
* Duccio (''Maestà'')
* Giotto (''The Ognissanti Madonna'', ''Badia Polyptych'')
* Simone Martini (''The Annunciation'')
* Paolo Uccello (''The Battle of San Romano'')
* Piero della Francesca (''Diptych of Duke Federico da Montefeltro and Duchess Battista Sforza of Urbino'')
* Fra Filippo Lippi (''Madonna with Child and Two Angels'')
* Andrea del Verrocchio (''The Baptism of Christ'')
* Hugo van der Goes (''The Portinari Triptych'')
* Sandro Botticelli (''Primavera'', ''The Birth of Venus'', ''The Adoration of the Magi'' and others)
* Leonardo da Vinci (''The Annunciation'', ''The Adoration of the Magi'')
* Piero di Cosimo (''Perseus liberating Andromeda'')
* Albrecht Dürer (''The Adoration of the Magi'')
* Michelangelo (''The Doni Tondo'')
* Raphael (''Madonna of the Goldfinch'', ''Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giulio de' Medici and Luigi de' Rossi'')
* Titian (''Flora'', ''Venus of Urbino'')
* Parmigianino (''The Madonna of the Long Neck'')
* Caravaggio (''Bacchus'', ''The Sacrifice of Isaac'', ''Medusa'')
* Artemisia Gentileschi (''Judith and Holofernes'')
* Rembrandt Van Rijn (''The selfportrait as a young man'',''selfportrait as an old man'',''portrait of an old man'')

The collection also contains some ancient sculptures, such as the ''Arrotino'' and the ''Two Wrestlers''.


Image:Simone Martini 078.jpg|Simone Martini: ''Annunciation''
Image:Paolo Uccello 023.jpg|Paolo Uccello: The Battle of San Romano, 1456
Image:Sandro_Botticelli_049.jpg|Detail of The Birth of Venus (Botticelli) by Botticelli
Image:Primavera.jpg|Botticelli: ''La Primavera'', c. 1478
Image:Tizian 102.jpg|Titian: ''Venus of Urbino''
Image:Tizian 022.jpg|Titian: Flora (mythology), 1515-1520
Image:Piero della Francesca 044.jpg|Piero della Francesca
Image:Fra Filippo Lippi 009.jpg|Fra Filippo Lippi: Madonna con due angeli
Image:Michelangelo Buonarroti 046.jpg|Michelangelo: Tondo Doni
Image:Sanzio 00.jpg|Raphael: self portrait
Image:Raffael 031.jpg|Raphael: ''Madonna del cardellino''
Image:Raffaello - ElisabettaGonzaga.jpg|Raphael: ''Portrait of Elisabetta Gonzaga''
Image:Raffael 049.jpg|Raphael: ''Portrait of Pope Julius II''
Image:Medusa by Carvaggio.jpg|Caravaggio: Medusa
Image:Michelangelo Caravaggio 007.jpg|Caravaggio: ''Bacchus''
Image:Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 138.jpg|Rembrandt van Rijn: Self Portrait as a Young Man

See also :Category:Collections of the Uffizi.


Source: Wikipedia