Florence art guide

Gallery of Prints and Drawings

Man wearing a turban
Giovanni Bellini,
Man wearing a turban

Excusez nous mais cette page n'est pas été encore traduite en Français

During the early years of the 20th century, Carlo Ricci, director of the Uffizi Gallery at the time, founded the Gallery of Prints and Drawings, which contains about 110.000 exhibits together with several exhibition rooms, a library, and collections of photographs and reproductions of figurative art.

head of Angel
Verrocchio, head of Angel

What today is one of the largest collections of drawings and prints in the world was started by Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici in the mid 17th century, the golden century of collections. After his death (1675), the material was moved from the Pitti Palace to the Uffizi and rearranged by scholar Filippo Baldinucci on a commission from Grand Duke Cosimo III: it was already composed of 11.810 drawings and prints contained in about 100 volumes.

Cardinal  Leopoldo de' Medici
Baciccio, Cardinal
Leopoldo de' Medici

The collection gradually increased over the years with bequests and acquisitions and is now in possession of over 50.000 drawings and 60.000 prints by all the most important artists in Italy and the world (only a few of them are modern), among them Paolo Uccello, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Bruegel, Durer, Rubens, Lorrain and many others.

Medici Theatre
entrance of the Medici Theatre

The rooms of the Gallery, which can be reached up the magnificent staircase by Vasari, are situated on the first floor of the Palace, once occupied by the Medici Theatre, which was built by Buontalenti in 1585 for all the important court festivities, balls and theatrical performances. This large theatre, one of the first to be built in this period and witness to the birth of opera in the early 17th century, took up most of this wing of the building until being demolished in 1889. The first room of the Gallery is used for temporary exhibitions.

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