Uffizi Gallery Artworks, Highlights, and Must-see Exhibits
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence 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. Here are some of the must-see Uffizi Gallery artworks.
The Birth of Venus
Artist: Sandro Botticelli
The image of a beautiful Venus rising out of the ocean in a shell is one of the most recognisable in the world. The painting, completed in 1484, is a Renaissance masterpiece that was commissioned for the Medici family. The scale of the painting and the detailing is exquisite and awe-inspiring. The painting showcases the young Venus being ushered onshore by Zephyr, god of West end, and ready to be clothed by Pomona, the goddess of spring.
Artists: Leonardo Da Vinci and Andrea del Verrochio
A museum worth its salt has a masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci and the Uffizi Gallery has the Annunciation! The extraordinary artwork was done in collaboration with Vinci’s master, Andrea del Verrochio but his distinct style is seen through in the work. The painting captures the moment when Angel Gabriel announces to Virgin Mary that she will conceive the son of god and name him ‘Jesus’. The painting is detailed and even showcases Madonna’s Lilies that signify the virginity of Mary.
The Medusa is one of the most evocative paintings in the Uffizi Gallery and one that is sought after by visitors. The painting by Caravaggio is a round canvas and 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. The canvas shows the exact moment when her head was decapitated and her expression is priceless!
Venus of Urbino
The Venus of Urbino is one of the most controversial paintings by Titian. The painting depicts Venus in a nude form and was considered to be pornographic in element, a blot on the illustrious career of Titian. However, the painting itself was commissioned by the Duke of Urbino and gifted to his wife and depicts the elements of marriage – eroticism, fidelity and motherhood. The dog at Venus’s feet symbolizes fidelity while the girl looking in the chest symbolizes motherhood.
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.
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.
Judith Beheading Holofernes
Artist: Artemisia Gentileschi
Created in 1620 AD, this is actually Artemisia’s second work on the same topic and is often thought to also be a self-portrait. It features Judith in Holofernes’ tent, striking a blow to his neck as he is asleep — an incident that shows her heroism in freeing the people of Israel.
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.
Adoration of the Magi
Artist: Gentile da Fabriano
Featuring tempera on wood panel, the Adoration of Magi is dated to 1423 AD. It depicts a famous biblical scene when the Magi travelling in from the Far East meet Christ. Considered one of Fabriano’s best works, even its frame is a work of art.
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.
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)