Sunday, November 25, 2012

FAST FACTS: Ufizzi History

  • Built in 1581 under request of Grand Duke Franciso de’ Medici, son of Cosimo I
  • Original design was by Giorgio Vasari.
  • In 1560, work was began to create the horseshoe-shaped building that reaches from the Ponte Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria, to and along the river Arno
  • Built rapidly despite minor difficulties and major social events taking place in he area.
  • Originally intended for offices and to host bureaucratic meetings for various magistrates.
  • Once construction of the Uffizi was complete, Cosimo I had Vasari, his favorite architect, create a passageway connecting the Palazzo Vecchio to the Palazzo Pitti, running atop the Ponte Vecchio which is just down river from the Uffizi Gallery.
  • In 1584, the Octagonal Platform was built by Vasari’s successor Buontalenti.  It consists of a weathercock connecting to an inside pointer alluding to the air element.  The sky vault and red upholstery allude to the water and fire elements.
  • On the other side of the building were the labs of smaller limbs, the foundry (or pharmacy) and over the loggia of the lanzi there was a hanging garden.
  • 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
  • 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 dynasty, 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.
  • 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 expulsion of the Lorraine (1859), the Gallery passed under the State and was completely reorganized according to modern criteria.

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