Uffizi Gallery History
The project to arrange the Gallery on the 3rd floor of this large building, conceived by Cosimo I Medici, was realized by his son Francesco I, who, after having Buontalenti build the room of the Tribune for the collection of antique medals and other works of art, had the ceilings of the first corridor decorated so that he could place there the series of famous portraits and, above all, the valuable sculptures, that give it name of "Gallery of the Sculptures".
With the addition of the other rooms, the Gallery was enlarged with the works brought from Rome by Ferdinand I, who renounced the office of Cardinal to become Grand Duke of Tuscany in the place of his deceased brother Francesco I. The Medici, now absolute rules of the city and of Tuscany, having married into the greatest families, continuosly enriched the Gallery, as under the reign of Ferdinando II, who married Vittoria della Rovere.
Later Cosimo III had the Gallery made larger in order to house the works inherited from his uncle Cardinal Leopold. With the extinction of the Medici, the last of the family, Anna Maria Ludovica, who died in 1737, with the so called "family-pact" held in Vienna in 1737, arranged that all the art treasures gathered by the powerful dynasty forever remain at the disposal of the Florentines and of the visitors of the entire world. Thanks to this testament, it was possible to recuperate so many works of art stolen during the last war, and during the Napoleonic era, even though, unfortunately, many masterpieces remained in France.
The Lorraines, successors of the Medici, enriched the Gallery and built the beautiful room of Niobe to house the marble group called Niobe and her children struck by Apollo and Diana. After the expulsionn of the Lorraine (1859), the Gallery passed under the State and was completely reorganized according to moderm criteria.
With the reorganization that took place after the last war, not only can we more clearly admire the development of Florentine and Tuscan painting and the better observe the great benefits over the other regions, but also we can better observe the great benefits that both Italian and foreign artists obtained by coming into contact with each other, as illustrated by the Adoration of the Shepherds by Van der Goes in Room 14, placed in confrontation with works by Florentine artists who were inspired by this painting. Thus the works of Bellini confronted with those of Dürer, clerly show the fascination that the great German artist experienced on contact with the Venetian painters.