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Florence | Uffizi opens new Caravaggio and 17th century painting gallery

By FEDERICA LUSIARDI - June 13, 2018


To design a museum’s new gallery, by setting up an exhibition layout coherent with its content, means to put into practice strategies aimed to improve the way the visitors experience an artwork or an ensemble of artworks.
That’s why the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, as all major museums in the world, periodically renovates its exhibitions.
This time, the museum inaugurates a new semi-permanent exhibition – encompassing eight rooms and focused on Caravaggio and other 17th century painters – that will remain open until 2025.

Cover image: Uffizi Gallery, the “Caravaggio’s Bacchus” room accommodates, along with other paintings, a still life by Velasquez with elements inspired by Caravaggio’s works

Each of the eight rooms has a different theme and title: Between Reality and Magic; Caravaggio and Artemisia; Caravaggio’s Medusa; Caravaggio’s Bacchus; By Candlelight; Rembrandt and Rubens; Galileo and the House of Medici; and Florentine Epic.

“The new layout is based on a thematic and artistic approach designed to inspire and to stimulate the visitor’s curiosity, carrying him or her back into the atmosphere of the time and into the history of Medici collecting. The idea is to create an intellectual experience both for the non-specialist and for the expert. Thanks to the juxtaposition of paintings from Florence and the rest of Italy with pictures from northern Europe, we have recovered the international spirit informing the taste of the period, which was open to influences from every country.” Uffizi Director Eike Schmidt says about the new exhibition.

Designed by architect Antonio Godoli in collaboration with Nicola Santini, the exhibition arrangement is based on two main design solutions: to adopt for all walls panels a dark red color which can be found in most of the paintings on view, and a lighting design which combines artificial and natural illumination, the latter obtained by re-opening a number of half-moon windows located in the renovated exhibition rooms.


Uffizi Gallery, Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi), Bacchus, c. 1595, oil on canvas


Uffizi Gallery, Rembrandt (Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn), self-portrais as a young man, 1668–1669, oil on board


Uffizi Gallery, “Caravaggio: the Medusa” room. On the left, Caravaggio’s Medusa (decorated parade shield, 1597, oil on canvas mounted on wood) displayed in a new glass case. On the right, a Roman statue of Minerva with a Medusa head on his chest.


Uffizi Gallery, view of the “Rembrandt and Rubens” room with portraits by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dick As the curator Maria Matilde Simari says, this group of works demonstrates that, thanks to relationships and interchanges among artists and among art collectors, 17th century painting was “European”, in the sense that was indifferent to national boundaries.

Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, Florence

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