Uffizi Gallery Artworks | What to See at Uffizi Gallery?
The city of Florence, called the Cradle of Renaissance, is home to some of the world’s most exemplary art galleries. The Uffizi Art Gallery is one such notable art museum that is on every visitor’s wishlist.
The Uffizi Gallery is home to some of the most important works in all of Western European art history. Visiting the gallery or participating in the Uffizi events will open your eyes to the different periods of art and a greater understanding of the cultural, economical, and political scenarios of the past. Read on to find out in detail about its rich history, excellent art collection, and inspiring architecture.
What is the Uffizi Gallery?
Explore Uffizi Artworks
The Uffizi Gallery is regularly included in the list of best art museums in the world. And, why not? The treasure trove of Renaissance masterpieces housed here itself makes the Uffizi Gallery artworks worth exploring.
The huge collection of paintings is distributed over 45 museum halls and features the works of prominent Renaissance artists such as Raphael, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Michelangelo, etc. Additionally, you will also find modern artworks by Dutch, Flemish, and German painters showcased here.
The construction of the Uffizi Palace is credited to Giorgio Vasari, who received the commission from Cosimo I de' Medici in 1560. The building has a characteristic U-shape, is 3 floors high, and is designed in Mannerist style. An outstanding feature of the complex is an enclosed passageway named the Vasari Corridor that connects the gallery to the Pitti Palace via the Ponte Vecchio.
The Uffizi collection boasts a remarkable series of sculptures predominantly from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The first, second, and third corridors of the second floor are adorned with an endless series of classical statues and busts. The Statue of Empress Helena, The Sleeping Ariadne (weighing nearly 2 tons), and the Portrait of Agrippa are among the museum’s most prized attractions.
Department of Prints and Drawings
Located on the first floor is the Department of Prints and Drawings which contains a comprehensive collection of more than 177,000 artworks belonging from the 14th to 20th century. Here, you can lay your eyes on the black-and-white etchings, drawings, and prints by the likes of Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Alfonso Parigi, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Leonardo da Vinci, Piero di Cosimo, etc.
Uffizi Artwork Highlights | What to Look Out For
The Birth of Venus
Artist: Sandro Botticelli
Standing in room #10-14 is the early Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli’s masterpiece - The Birth of Venus. Painted circa 1485, Botticelli chose Venus - the goddess of love and beauty - as the subject of his painting and drew influence from classical statues as well as the Hellenistic period. The scene captures the moment Venus arrives on the island of Cyprus on a giant scallop shell. The ethereal beauty of Venus’ naked form coupled with the long tresses of her golden hair truly takes your breath away. Additionally, the roses billowing in the wind harkens the beginning of spring.
Artists: Leonardo Da Vinci and Andrea del Verrochio
The genius Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation greets visitors as they walk into room #35. It was painted between 1475 and 1480 in collaboration with Vinci’s master, Andrea del Verrochio. It is among Leonardo’s earlier works thus, it lacks the technical perfection that would become synonymous with his later works. Nevertheless, he paints a compelling picture of the Virgin Mary being visited by Archangel Gabriel to deliver his pronouncement of the birth of Jesus. It also showcases Madonna’s Lilies that signify the virginity of Mary.
Caravaggio, the trailblazing Renaissance artist, has his world-famous artwork displayed in room #90 at the Uffizi Gallery. The Medusa is one of the most evocative paintings in the Uffizi Gallery and one that is sought after by visitors. The painting shows the face of Medusa on a wooden ceremonial shield. It was painted in 1597 and commissioned as a gift to Grand Duke Medici. The painting depicts the mythological character ‘Medusa’ who has the capability of turning men to stone and has venomous snakes as hair. Caravaggio used his own face to communicate Medusa’s horrified expression after being beheaded by the Greek demigod Perseus. The startling realism in his painting makes it one of the highly-regarded works in the Uffizi collection.
Venus of Urbino
Inspired by Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus, Titian’s iteration of 1538 shows the goddess Venus lying naked in a seductive pose and gazing unabashedly at the viewer. Titian masterfully transformed the goddess of beauty, love, and fertility into an object of overt desire and eroticism. However, at the time the painting was considered to be pornographic in element and a blot on the illustrious career of Titian. Placed in room #83, viewers can themselves observe the luminescent skin and soft features of Venus as well as the heavy use of allegories throughout the painting. The overall impact of Titian’s work creates an alluring effect that hasn’t diminished much throughout the centuries.
Coronation of the Virgin
Artist: Fra Angelico
The Coronation of the Virgin inspires awe and is one of the best known altar-pieces in history. Originally conceived as a triptych, this altarpiece has two sister-pieces known as The Marriage and The Funeral of the Virgin, which you can view at the San Marco in Florence. Fra Angelico used the gilded technique to depict the coronation of the Virgin by Christ and all the saints in attendance. The stunning golden rays of the painting emit spirituality and the painting is a delight to view.
Artist: Giotto di Bondone
"Maestà" or "Majesty" refers to the regal pose held by Mary as she is sat atop a throne with Jesus in her arms. Created by Medieval artist Giotto di Bondone, it is dated between 1300-1305 ca., and is representative of the traditional Italo-Byzantine style that was popular in this period. The use of gold colouring and almost three-dimensional figures set his work apart from many others of the period, as Giotto was the first artist in the history of western European art to create three-dimensional figures.
Judith Beheading Holofernes
Artist: Artemisia Gentileschi
The 17th-century female painter Artemisia Gentileschi’s profound artwork called Judith Beheading Holofernes was completed circa 1620. It was inspired by the biblical tale in the Old Testament about Judith decapitating the head of her enemy, army general Holofernes. Gentileschi has ingeniously captured the intensity, violence, and bloodlust of the protagonist without any restraint. Unsurprisingly, the painting was met with strong reactions in the 1600s, but it has found a newfound admiration in recent times due to its feminist-centric theme. You can watch the incredibly compelling scene for yourself in room #90 of the Uffizi Gallery.
Adoration of the Magi
Artist: Gentile da Fabriano
Fabriano painted the biblical scene where the three Magi encounter the Virgin Mary and newborn Jesus on their way to Bethlehem in 1423. Although the famous scene has been painted by several renowned artists, what distinguishes this painting is Fabriano’s meticulous attention to detail along with his use of precious stones and authentic gold threads. As you peruse this painting in room #5-6, you will be able to better appreciate the mastery of light used to make the scene come to life. Fabriano’s Adoration of the Magi is lauded as a prime example of International Gothic paintings and is one of the highlights at Uffizi Gallery.
The Ognissanti Madonna
Undoubtedly, one of the most prominent Uffizi Gallery paintings is the Ognissanti Madonna (or Madonna Enthroned) placed in room #2 on the second floor. Painted by Giotto di Bondone between 1300 and 1305, its original role was as an altarpiece at the Florentine Church of Ognissanti. The artist paints an evocative picture of Mary sitting on the throne like a regal queen while holding baby Jesus in her lap as she is surrounded by angels and saints. Giotto’s work was innovative for its time as it introduced a sense of 3-dimensional reality that was missing from previous works of art. Moreover, his revolutionary ideas were instrumental in ushering in the age of the Renaissance.
Room #10-14 is home to another masterpiece by Sandro Botticelli titled La Primavera or ‘Spring’. The Renaissance artist painted the eerily beautiful scenery between the late 1470s and early 1480s. He has drawn figures from classical mythology like Zephyrus, Chloris, Flora (the spring goddess), Mercury, Venus, and the Three Graces in an orange grove that is speculated to be the realm of Venus. All the figures are assumed to be celebrating the arrival of spring in a poetic rhythm that renders the image truly captivating. The painting is filled with allegories, making La Primavera’s precise interpretation a hotly-debated topic even after more than 500 years.
Dated to 1598 AD, this still life is part of Caravaggio’s health-length portraits. The oil painting features Bacchus with fruit and a carafe of wine in front of him. He extends a goblet of wine out, almost as if offering the viewer to join him.
Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence
Artist: Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Created from a single block of Carrara marble, the statue was sculpted by Bernini when he was around 15 years old. He used different tools to create textures and only the front part of the sculpture is polished, indicating that is how it was meant to be viewed.
Artist: Niccolò di Pietro Gerini
Made with tempera on panel, Gerini uses a traditional composition method where his figures are stiff yet dramatic. It centers around the crucifixion of Jesus surrounded by John, Mary, and the angels. It was bought and given to Uffizi Museum in 2011 by the Italian government.
Artist: Beato Angelico
Dated to 1420 AD, the main theme of Thebaid is spirituality. It features a rocky landscape where monks and ascetics are praying in Thebes. Created in Early Renaissance style, one can see scenes from the lives of famous saints here. It is one of the fully intact paintings in Uffizi Gallery today.
Artist: Marini Marino
This bronze sculpture, about 160 cm in height, depicts the Etruscan god of fertility — Pomona. Made in 1941, Marino depicted Pomona in numerous mediums from drawings to sculptures around this period. This particular sculpture has two replicas, one of which is in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels.
Artist: Alberto Burri
Using plastic, acrylic, and polyvinyl on Celotex, Bianco Nero was made by Italian visual artist Alberto Burri in 1969. A piece from the “Bianchi-Neri” collection, it sheds light on the artist's unorthodox methods and mediums to create a contrasting work featuring opposing colours and different textures.
Portrait of Bishop of Bologna, Ludovico Beccadelli (1501-1572)
This oil-on-canvas painting is dated to 1552 and is considered one of Titian's best portraits. The open letter in the figure's hand contains both the name of the Catholic archbishop and the artist himself, and was lauded for its close likeness to the subject.
Doni Tondo (or Holy Family)
Sitting in room #35 is the only surviving panel painting by Michelangelo called the Holy Family or Doni Tondo. He completed the painting around 1505-1506 after receiving the commission from Agnolo Doni, a wealthy Florentine merchant.
Laocoon and His Sons
Artist: Baccio Bandinelli
An absolutely unmissable artwork at the Uffizi Art Gallery is Laocoon and His Sons by the 16th-century sculptor, Baccio Bandinelli. The life-size sculpture is a replica of the original Hellenistic sculpture that stands on a permanent display at the Vatican Museum. The inspiration for the sculpture was taken from the poet Virgil’s epic poem titled Aeneid.
Other Famous Uffizi Gallery Artworks
Apart from the ones mentioned above, the Uffizi Museum is full of different works covering a range of mediums and time periods. The following are some more famous artworks at the Uffizi Gallery. You can access also the entire repository of the Uffizi Gallery.
Portrait of Young Girl, Francesco Furini (1650)
Portrait of an old man (The Old Rabbi), Rembrandt (1665)
Sleeping Eros, Unknown - Roman art (2nd century A.D.)
Spring, Sandro Botticelli (1480)
Girl with a Cigarette I (Portrait of Miss X.), Anders Zorn (1891)
Nursing Madonna, Defendente Ferrari (1505-1511)
The Duke and Duchess of Urbino Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza, Piero della Francesca (1473-1475)
Altar in honor of Hateria Superba, Unknown - Roman art (Mid-first century AD)
- Consider visiting during the off-season from November to February to enjoy reduced ticket fares.
- Do prior research online and make a checklist of artworks you want to see to save time.
- Avoid carrying backpacks, umbrellas, and large bags to the museum. In case you need to, store them in the cloakroom for free.
- Head straight to the second floor as it houses the most popular paintings and work your way down.
- For patrons who are wheelchair-bound, use the ramp on Via della Ninna.
- Take advantage of free podcasts and audio guides to get well-informed about the artworks before your visit.
- Take a break at the Uffizi terrace cafeteria and soak in the panoramic views of the city.
- You are only permitted to take pictures with a phone thus, ensure that your phone is adequately charged.
- Wear comfortable shoes, preferably sneakers, as the trip involves a lot of walking around.
- Opt for a combined ticket that offers you access to nearby attractions as well.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Uffizi Collection
A. Paintings (mostly from the Renaissance era), antique sculptures, and black-and-white drawings and etchings from popular artists are a part of the Uffizi Gallery artworks.
A. The Uffizi Gallery has an exhaustive collection of artworks ranging more than 300,000 art pieces.
A. World-renowned masterpieces like the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci, Medusa by Caravaggio, and numerous others are on display at the Uffizi Gallery.
A. The Uffizi Art Gallery is famous for its extensive art collection starting from the 13th century to the 18th century.
A. The Uffizi Gallery carries paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings as well as works of architecture.