Uffizi Gallery, (in Italian, Galleria degli Uffizi), major public gallery of Italian paintings, located in Florence, Italy, near the Piazza della Signoria. The Uffizi consists of a pair of linked, arcaded buildings dating from the 16th century and designed by Giorgio Vasari, court painter to Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici.
The buildings originally were intended for use as administrative offices (known in Italian as uffizi); however, their innovative iron structure, which provided space for large windows, made them suitable spaces for the Medici family’s art collections. It is those works that form the nucleus of the Uffizi’s present collection.
Alhough the Uffizi’s 1800 works do not constitute a large collection, their overall quality—particularly the Italian Renaissance works—has made the gallery one of the most important in the world. The Italian art displays include three altarpieces by 13th- and 14th-century artists Giotto, Duccio de Buoninsegna, and Cimabue, and works in the International Gothic Style by painters Simone Martini and Gentile da Fabriano. Among the most notable displays in the gallery are those devoted to the early Italian Renaissance. These include paintings by Masaccio, Fra Angelico, Paolo Uccello, and Piero della Francesca, and four rooms devoted to the works of Sandro Botticelli, including Primavera (1478?) and Birth of Venus (1482?). Other rooms display paintings by the great masters of the Florentine High Renaissance, including the unfinished Adoration of the Magi (begun 1481) by Leonardo da Vinci and Madonna of the Goldfinch (1505) by Raphael. The display of Florentine painting concludes with works by such Mannerist artists as Jacopo da Pontormo, Agnolo Bronzino, and Rosso Fiorentino.
The Uffizi also houses a number of important examples of Venetian art, including works by Giovanni Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, and Paolo Veronese. Paintings by Hugo van der Goes, Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, and Sir Anthony van Dyck represent Flemish, Dutch, and German art of the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. Other artists represented in the collection include Spanish artist Francisco de Goya and French painter Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin. The corridor that links the Uffizi with the Pitti Palace museum displays a famous collection of self-portraits by artists including Raphael, Rubens, Spanish painter Diego Velázquez, and French painter Eugène Delacroix. Encarta "Italy" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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